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John Mccain 91, America 72, Bentsen 54, Us 46, Quayle 40, Barack Obama 33, George Bush 31, Afghanistan 30, United States 27, Biden 25, Iraq 22, Massachusetts 19, Washington 18, Gwen 18, Michael Dukakis 18, Palin 18, Dukakis 15, United States Senate 15, Israel 15, Alaska 13,
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  CSPAN    Washington This Week    News/Business.  

    October 7, 2012
    2:00 - 5:53pm EDT  

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now, 20% come from all over the world. i am up to 98%. that means 2% of the people getting ph.d.'s are coming from the united states, in our most complete engineering schools. that is a recipe for disaster. that is a recipe for disaster. we do not ever talk about it. we're just letting the thing unraveled. what about best new engineering schools, which you will be hearing about in a few days, in dallas, and they have a great school, but guess what -- i asked them onetime how many people they have from china, and this university right here, 2000, added to the top. >> this is an example of how we need to modernize our immigration policy and how we need to change education policy alice well. immigration policy is based on family relationships.
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it is not based on economic considerations, skills and knowledge. while we need to revitalize education for americans, we need to recognize the extent to which people are coming to america to learn we need to do what we need to do to keep them in america. >> this is our core problem. there trillions of connections in the brain called neurons. they start down at age 6 when they start public school. kids at a school soared like eagles, got college scholarships, they got wired. when you know this and you do not talk about it and do not do anything about it, this is another recipe for disaster.
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our public education system is just really got to be strained out. the teachers' unions are primarily concerned about how much they make a year, and that is not where the concern has to be. it is making sure that children have the funds in education that are needed for education. >> we spend double per person to educate k through 12, double other nations. we do the same thing in health care. we get below-average results. when you get below-average results, the answer is not to throw more money at the system. it is to read engineer the system. -- re-engineer the system. during more money at a system that is getting those kinds of results is called in sanity. >> it is all about politics. moneyachers' unions give to the guide that is going to take care of them. are you with me?
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when you look at the chinese and see how bright they are, and they have a huge population, 1.2 billion. that is a giant population. we have 310 million. the sheer size of their population, it is interesting they are getting the best- educated people because of a number of symbols you have to learn about all these other things, and we know what we have to do. we just do not do it. my advice would be, if i have an opportunity, let's quit talking about it and just do it.
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>> you had said when you were comptroller general tried to call attention to this problem, the problem of running deficits and accumulating greater debt, that the country had a budget deficit, a trade deficit, a balance of payments deficit, and the fourth one you brought up was a leadership deficit. >> leadership is the greatest. >> can i ask you both, describe what is the problem with what appears to be in your mind a leadership deficit, that we're not getting the leadership on this key issue either from this president or past presidents, this congress or pass congresses/ what does it take to get elected officials to tackle at an issue, increasing their taxes? >> let's start with the families. they will get their attention. the voters have to understand all this, which they did not, and voters need to understand what we have to do to get all this corrected, and they do not.
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if we ever get that over to the voters, they will vote for the people who are geared up, ready, and know how to do it and are running on that basis, and then we can change this country forever and get us back to where we used to be when i was a boy in the depression. why schoolteachers and would have been doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs today. with luck they were making $200 a month, but they were talented, they brought out the best in all of us. they were by example really fine people, and with the highest qualities. all that got transmitted to the children at class a even if they were not getting it at home.
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>> when you were running you were talking about increasing not necessarily dollars per capita, but investing in education, communications, and transportation. even while trying to reduce deficits and debt, you were talking about the need for certain targeted investments. do you feel that is still true today? >> all you have to do is to look at it and sethat it is true today. as long as that goes on, kids are lost. >> we need short-term investments, but they need to be properly designed and the effect of the implemented. recent ones have not banned, but they have to be coupled with the concrete and forcible plan to deal with such structural to facets. we need policy reforms, operational reforms, and we need political reforms. on the political side, our country today is dominated by
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special interests, by the duopoly of political policies, and toward politicians who may or may not have had a real job in their lives, but once elected, they want to keep it. congress works three days a week, and it does not work that many days any year. it does not get paid for performance. if it did, it would owe us money. we need to have redistricting reform, integrated and open primaries, campaign finance reform, and we need to have term limits, 12- to 18-year term limits. the fuse has been lit. what we need is two things -- extraordinary leadership from
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the president of the united states, whoever that is. we need these debates to be more specific, substantive, on these issues so the people can make an informed judgment about who to support and so that whoever wins will have a mandate to act, and then they need to lead. the president is not just the commander in chief. the chief executive officer of united states. this country is in terrible condition and we are losing ground every day. >> they are not doing anything. >> dave mentioned duopoly. established a third party, united we stand and the reform party. do you feel that is needed today, that there is something wrong with that two-party system which has gotten more acrimonious, each party back on their 10-yard line?
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>> any way that can be done, it is almost impossible to do it. it would be a very healthy thing if you could get it done and make it happen, but it is very difficult to do and very few people would want to try to put it there, because they know they are going to be butchered from day one. much of the media will participate actively in that. you have to talk about the politicians. the media has strong views. >> it is hard to get somebody like dave walker willing to put their name out there and run in 50 states and withstand the media scrutiny and the like? >> if you ran for either party, it would be all right.
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if he created a new party, that would be very difficult. i can promise you, because have a huge number of special interests hammering away. >> also, when you did it, you put tens of billions of dollars of your own money into it. today it would take hundreds of millions of dollars of your own money. i wonder whether anyone -- do you think if you were a 62-year- old man today, could you replicate in today's politics with unlimited spending by corporations and unions, could you replicate what you did then at the dollar level? >> if you got the dollars, but you could not get the open- minded look at what you are doing as opposed to everybody at attacking the fact that you are even trying. that is the way things have been, the way things are, and how can you change that? i do not know. if i knew, i of would certainly tell you. >> finance reform. >> we have got to get a clean up. >> there is nothing to prevent the congress and the president today from passing a law that
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would require full and timely disclosure of contributions to these superpacs and others. the supreme court scission did not do that. they are working for themselves and their party. what we need is campaign finance reform. i will give you a simple principle, that the people who can contribute directly or indirectly are people who can vote. news flash -- corporations and unions cannot vote. it is a simple principle, one of the ones we are exposing to the public, and they overwhelmingly endorsed it. most of these areas -- it is very common sense.
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that is what the american people respond to. that is not how our politicians treat us. that is part of the problem. >> don't you think it is interesting in all of these really tough times, we have talked all about these big numbers, that the house, the sense, and the white house did not reduce their salaries? think about it. >> do you think they should? >> if you were in business, you would have to. they need to set the first example of making the cut back for themselves. >> leading by example. >> exactly. >> it is a fundamental principle, especially in business. we need more of that. >> how close do you think we are to a crisis? people say the deficit and debt issue will get resolved when they have to resolve a, not when they should resolve it. do you think we're close to a
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market crisis? to bond buyers of not investing in the united states' debt -- will that happen one of these years? >> of course. it is as common sense. we're not talking about politicians, where talking about people taking money out of their pocket at one time, considering it was the safest investment could make, a treasury bill, right? and now i have every reason to be concerned whether it will last or how long. >> we are living in a dream world right now. there is no such thing as an entitlement. the supreme court said there are two things that under the constitution, are guaranteed.
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number one, military pensions, and, number two, bond holders of u.s. debt. the u.s. will not default on its sovereign debt, but there is a huge interest rate risk, and if you are a foreign investor, there's a huge currency risk in investing in. all the new debt in the last two years has been purchased by the federal reserve, up 70% of that, we are self-dealing in our and debt. we did not have market rates. we have artificially low rates. china, japan, opec nations, because they have positive trade values, but if they buy a 30- year bond? no, they are buying short term, because we have historically low interest rates, the lowest maturity in history, and when the interest rates go up, for
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everyone% increase, it is $160 billion a year in new spending for which we get shinola -- nothing. and now up to 5% below average interest rates. >> isn't it interesting that not more people talk about it on television, and the candidate do not spend much time talking about this. it is just like being in denial. >> we did not go through the decade of george w. bush and the last four years of rock obama, but what they have had to deal with, in fairness, is 9/11, a couple of wars that require a lot of spending, the tax cuts of george bush -- i am not sure where you stood on those, but they did eat into the amount of money we had to spend -- and then the recession, which was
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some say close to a depression. did that time prevent us from being able to make deficits and debt a top priority? >> it should not have. it could have, but it should not have come out if people were thinking clearly, if they were well educated, if they even understood this whole damn thing, which they do not. if you say what percentage of the american people understand this, i would say it is a very low number. it to be everybody, and everybody should say this is my country. people should be very active about not letting anything damaged our country. the one thing we have not mentioned at all, there is no
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question at all in my mind, if we keep going this way, some nation is going to head over here to take us. if they did, they have picked the right time, right? i wish every american with the about that, all day, every day, saying we cannot let that happen. we have the greatest country, we have got to get it back there, and we need to keep it there and make it better, not worse. that should be our goal. every year we should look back and say things have gotten a lot better, even after our
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ideal. we want to still make it better. >> used a word that is commonly used, that the same problem. it is called war. we have not declared war since world war ii. we are not following the constitution of the united states. in 2003, things really spun out of control fiscally. three things happened. they were irresponsible the second round of tax cuts. secondly, invaded anation without declaring war irdlede pscriptiondrugexpaded
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they are concerned with the lack of accountability in government. in the case of occupy, it's wall street, and guess what -- they are both right. >> he summed it up beautifully. >> when you were running, it was a matter of people getting to call into an 800-number. now we're into this world of social media, where you can tweet something out in a matter of seconds. do you think that would make a third-party iran or any kind of a people's movement easier today than it was 20 years ago when you had to rely on people calling in to a phone number? do you think the computer
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revolution, which you have been involved since the start, and in particular at the social media revolution of the last several years, should create a situation where you are on twitter, where you can mobilize people more easily? >> sure. >> shouldn't that make the type of solution you are talking about, people demanding change, similar to have? >> that is what we need, and i think that is a good way to do it. >> the problem would be they
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have the tools today to instantly to mobilize. you are saying they do not have the education to know in which direction to go? they're not being educated about the degree of the problem in terms of how deeply into annual deficits and debt we are? >> absolutely no question that social networking, facebook, twitter, provide an opportunity to reach a lot more people a lot quicker than was in the case in 1992. >> i know you are writing a book. your autobiography coming out in a few months. why now? >> people wanted me to do it, so i agreed, and people -- and it will be coming out shortly. it is all about these things we have talked about today, as well as other things. i hope it will be useful for the people to get informed and understand that we the people own this country, and we the people have any responsibility
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to get these things straightened out. and leave our children and grandchildren a much better nation rather than just letting it fall apart. it also helps to have the best public schools in the world, which we did not have any more. it will take a while paired right now, it is important to try to make sure we get all of our people actively involved in understanding these problems. included in the book is an updated set of charts that show all of the fiscal problems of our country. you get that free with a book. they fit into the book. >> why don't you show them that beautiful cover? >> i do not know where it is. >> i can grab it right here. >> this is the book coming out, and it will be coming out here pretty soon, but i hope it will be useful to the american people to understand how important they are to the future of this country, and we the people can determine who are leaders are, and we the people must select the right leaders.
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once we have them in office, keep in close contact with them, so they do not wandering around to special interests. >> you have had a remarkable life, and you have been involved not only in your businesses, but in terms of being p.o.w.'s back from overseas, your involvement in public education. hece we're focusing in this interviewed on their presidential campaigns and the issues of deficit and debt, where do you make that portion of your life in terms of your legacy, in terms of your achievement? how do you look at that time when you decided annual deficits and accumulated debt or important enough you would
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put your name out there and run in all 50 states? >> i did not get done what i wanted to do. that has not happened yet, and this is my last big effort here. this will cover it again. >> do you agree, dave, that you think he is being too humble? >> he is being very modest. he is the biggest philanthropist in the united states that people did not know about because he does most things anonymously. he is a perfect example of when he ran in 1992, he was running to make a difference. he put his own money out there, he made the difference, because the issue of fiscal responsibility became a top priority to the clinton administration.
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they took a number of steps to restore fiscal sanity. we had four years of unified surpluses, but we have lost our way since then. it started in 2003. that is when i spoke out at the national press club, and if has only gotten worse since. he is reiterating with his book, with new updated charts, and we are trying to help make sure the public has the facts, and can be involved in solving this problem. >> they are the key to the solution, because they are the voters. >> do you plan to be out there frequently, in terms of your involvement with the comeback america initiative, but also when the book comes out, will you take a full book tour? >> i do not have anything planned. we will have to plan something for the book.
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>> you are not reticent to get out there? a couple times to they use it for somebody to take on the talents that you took on, they would have to have thick skin, and you talk about how other politicians and the media will come after somebody like that. you have receded from public view in recent years. >> i will do what ever i have to. >> ross perot has dedicated to the mission. it is about the mission, not about him. it is about the country. it is about his kids, and is about his grandkids and future generations. that is what it is about. >> i want them to have the opportunities i had to.
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i was covered up with parents who loved me, but i felt i was rich because of them. i then went on and had the great opportunities and got into the naval academy. that was a great experience in learning leadership at the finest level and getting to practice it for 8 years in the navy. i was lucky to get in the computer business, and i had all these ideas that ibm was not interested in, and i started my own company. it all worked out, because people bought computers but could not use them. they could not make the
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software. we would sell the whole thing, a completely finished package, hardware, software, and that went on all over the world, and sold that off to general motors of all places. then started a new company and that was barry successful also. it is now -- and that was a very successful also. >> it is now part of dell. >> the presidential campaign, when you look back, you could say why i did what i did in terms of my public education, man military service. whatever made me decide for run for president? >> those other things were more rational. that was something we stuck with. it is human nature. people vote, and if you do not have a well-educated population, it is less rational. if we could ever get back to a block-educated population, people would do a much better job at the ballot box. >> do you think if we had a perot administration, things would be different today in terms of our fiscal picture? >> i would have made every effort. i would have had to deal with the two parties day in and day out, but in that job i could have gone directly to the american people for their support. once you actually had that, you would probably get them to agree to anything, including a
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bad idea. i would not want to have done, but it is really important. someone asked huey long if he stood for anything, and he looked and said as a young man, i stand for reelection. >> the answer to that question is yes, because he would not just have focused on the short term. he would have also focused on the structural problem. our problem is not the current deficits and debt, although they are shockingly high. the problem is what is not on the balance sheet that is many times greater. that is the real problem. you have to solve that problem as well. in addition, ross perot has an incredible ability to
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communicate, and no hesitancy to go directly to the american people with these issues. coming back to what we talked about before, that is what we need from our president. we have to rally the public around the fact we have no choice but to make these tough choices. we are going to solve these problems. the issue -- where we saw that prudently and preemptively, or we will wait until the market forces us to do, which will be a global depression, much higher unemployment, draconian spending reductions and tax increases. >> and then the risk of another nation taking us over. that should be in everybody's part of their brain. >> i sense you are an equal- opportunity critical of both parties, in congress, and both
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gentlemen running for president. is that the case? are you aligning result one way or the other? >> the way it operates now is not going to be successful. >> to be clear, you were saying you're not supportive of how much effort the president or mitt romney have put into this so far? you are saying you're not a fan of either one's missions? >> it is more than just that. it is their teens who work with them. they have not come up with something that works. >> neither candidate right now has a comprehensive plan that
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meets the six principles we're talking about with the public. in the case of the president, he does not have a plan because his plan is his budget, but his budget which rejected unanimously by the senate and house, so he has to start over again. in the case of romney, he has a plan, he has not provided any specifics, and specifics he has provided, the numbers do not add up. that is what it is important but of them to be more specific, more substantive, most solutions oriented in the debates so we can make an informed choice about who to support, so they can claim they have a mandate, and they can use the bully pulpit to go to the people to talk about what we have been talking about and that people can then be involved to help get us a fiscal board and next year. - fiscal bargain next year. it is critically important. >> will you be watching these debates? >> oh, yeah, i'll watch them. >> what do you think about when you see these debates that have happened since then? >> well, not much. just maneuvering back and forth. >> not as colorful.
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>> will we see a third-party candidacy, a new ross perot on the horizon in 2016 to take something like that? >> i am to all to do it now. >> you have sons and daughters and grandchildren. >> i am too old to do it. >> will somebody -- do you think it would help someone else ran that type of campaign? >> if we get the right person, but they will do everything they can to butchered them. the media is pretty cooperative with that, too. >> thank you. i appreciate you talking to us. >> thank you. >> thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> that begins at 8:00 p.m. eastern followed live by the montana senate debate race. and now the 1988 vice- presidential debate. dan quayle and lloyd bentsen of texas. the two vice presidential candidates were 25 years apart in age which provided one of the defining moments. the debate was held in omaha and was moderated by pbs's judy woodruff.
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>> on behalf of the commission on presidential debates, i am pleased to welcome you to this vice presidential debate. i'm judy woodruff of pbs' "macneil-lehrer news hour" and "frontline." my colleagues on the panel are -- john margolis of "the chicago tribune," tom brokaw of nbc news, and brit hume of abc news. the importance of tonight's debate is underscored by two facts. both george bush and michael dukakis said their selections of a running mate would reveal a lot about themselves. and based on the history since world war ii, there is almost a 50-50 chance that one of the two men here tonight will become president of the united states. the candidates are senator dan quayle, the republican nominee, and senator lloyd bentsen, the democratic nominee. [applause]
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>> for the next 90 minutes we will be questioning the candidates following a format designed and agreed to by representatives of the two campaigns. however, there are no restrictions on the questions that my colleagues and i may ask this evening. by prior agreement between the two candidates, the first question goes to senator quayle, and you have two minutes to respond. senator, you have been criticized, as we all know, for your decision to stay out of the vietnam war, for your poor academic record. but more troubling to some are some of the comments that have been made by people in your own party.
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just last week former secretary of state haig said that your pick was the dumbest call george bush could have made. your leader in the senate. [applause] >> your leader in the senate bob dole said that a better qualified person could have been chosen. other republicans have been far more critical in private. why do you think that you have not made a more substantial impression on some of these people who have been able to observe you up close? >> the question goes to whether i am qualified to be vice president, and in the case of a tragedy, whether i'm qualified to be president. qualifications for the office of vice president or president are not age alone. you must look at accomplishments, and you must look at experience. i have more experience than others that have sought the
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office of vice president. now let's look at qualifications, and let's look at the three biggest issues that are going to be confronting america in the next presidency. those three issues are national security and arms control; jobs and education; and the federal budget deficit. on each one of those issues i have more experience than does the governor of massachusetts. in national security and arms control, you have to understand the difference between a ballistic missile, a warhead, what throw weight, what mega- tonnage is. you better understand about telemetry and encryption. and you better understand that you have to negotiate from a position of strength. these are important issues, because we want to have more arms control and arms reductions. in the area of jobs and education, i wrote the job
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training partnership act, a bipartisan bill, a bill that has trained and employed over three million economically disadvantaged youth and adults in this country. on the area of the federal budget deficit, i have worked eight years on the senate budget committee. and i wish that the congress would give us the line item veto to help deal with that. and if qualifications alone are going to be the issue in this campaign, george bush has more qualifications than michael dukakis and lloyd bentsen combined. [applause] [boos] >> senator bentsen thisoing to interrupt at point and ask once again that the audience please keep your responses as quiet as possible. we know that many of you here are for one candidate or another. but you are simply taking time away from your candidate, and more likely than not, you'll be causing the partisans for the other candidate to react again when their candidate speaks. so please. senator bentsen, you have one minute to respond. >> this debate tonight is not about the qualifications for the vice presidency.
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the debate is whether or not dan quayle and lloyd bentsen are qualified to be president of the united states. because judy, just as you have said, that has happened too often in the past. and if that tragedy should occur, we have to step in there without any margin for error, without time for preparation, to take over the responsibility for the biggest job in the world, that of running this great country of ours; to take over the awesome responsibility for commanding the nuclear weaponry that this country has. no, the debate tonight is a debate about the presidency itself, and a presidential decision that has to be made by you.
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the stakes could not be higher. >> senator bentsen, a question for you, and you also have two minutes to respond. what bothers people is not so much your qualifications but your split on policy with gov. dukakis. he has said that he does not want a clone of himself, but you disagree with him on some major issues: aid to the nicaraguan contras; the death penalty; gun control; among others. if you had to step into the presidency, whose agenda would you pursue, yours or his? >> well, i am delighted to respond to that question, because we agree on so many things and the vast majority of the issues. we agree on the fact that we have to cut this deficit. and gov. dukakis has been able to cut that deficit ten budgets in a row in the state of massachusetts, while he lowered the tax burden on their people from one of the highest to one of the lower in the united states. that is a major sense of achievement.
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and i admire that. and i'm just delighted to be on the ticket with him. gov. dukakis and i agreed that we ought to have a trade policy for this country; that we've seen this administration more than double the national debt, that; they've moved this country from the number one lender nation in the world to the number one debtor nation in the world under their administration; that they have not had a trade policy; that they have let trade be a handmaiden for their foreign policy objectives of the country; that this country has exported too many jobs and not enough products. and as i worked to pass a trade bill through the united states senate, they threw roadblocks in the way every step of the way. but we passed a trade bill that has this premise, that any country that has full access to our markets, we're entitled to full access to their markets. now, that means that we're going to stand tough for america, and we're going to protect those jobs, and we're going to push american products, and we're going to open up markets around the world. we'll show leadership in that
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respect, and turn this deficit and trade around. that's the sort of thing that michael dukakis and i will do to bring about a better america for all our people. >> senator quayle, a minute to respond. >> as you notice, senator bentsen didn't tell you very much about what gov. dukakis would do gov. dukakis, one of the most liberal governors in the united states of america -- the one thing he tried to point out about gov. dukakis is that he's cut taxes. the fact of the matter is, senator bentsen, he's raised taxes five times. he just raised taxes this past year. and that's why a lot of people refer to him as tax-hike mike. that's why they refer to the state of massachusetts as taxachusetts. because every time there's a problem, the liberal governor from massachusetts raises taxes. i don't blame senator bentsen for not talking about gov. michael dukakis. he's talking more about his record. if i had to defend the liberal policies of gov. michael dukakis, i wouldn't talk about it either. >> john margolis, a question for senator bentsen. >> senator bentsen, you have claimed that vice president bush and the republicans will raid the social security trust fund, and you have vowed to protect it. but as chairman of the senate finance committee, you must know
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that there is something to the argument of your fellow democrat bob strauss that some restraint on social security growth may be needed, or at least some decision to tax most social security benefits as regular income. in fact, you once voted for and spoke for a six-month delay on cost of living adjustment increases for social security. senator, aren't you and gov. dukakis using this issue politically, rather than dealing with it responsibly? >> well, i must say i hate to disappoint my good friend bob strauss, but we have a contract with the american people on social security. and social security is an issue where senator quayle voted eight times to cut the benefits on social security, where this administration came in and tried to cut the benefits, the minimum benefits, $122 a month for widows, for retirees, tried to cut the benefits for 62-year- old retirees by 40%, tried to do
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an end run on social security when they first came in after promising not to cut it to cut it by some 20 billion, and while we were working together to reform the social security system and to be certain that that money was going to be there for people when they retired. at that point they tried a $40- billion end run to cut social security. now, the record is clear. and we saw vice president bush fly back from the west coast to break a tie in the united states senate. he doesn't get to vote very often in the senate, but he made a special trip to come back and vote against a cost-of- living increase. now, when you talk about social security, the people that are going to protect it are the
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democrats that brought forth that program. and i think it's very important that we not see these kinds of end runs by this administration. when they talk about the fact that they are going to continue to cut this budget, i know too well what their rack record is. and we should be concerned with that kind of an effort once again after the election is over. >> senator quayle, your response? >> senator bentsen, you know that i did not vote to cut social security benefits eight times. what i have voted for and what senator bentsen has voted for is to delay the cost-of-living adjustments. senator bentsen two times in the united states senate voted to delay the cost-of-living adjustments. the governor of massachusetts at a governors' conference supported a resolution to delay the cost-of-living adjustment. and, john, you are right: they use this for political advantage.
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what they try to do time and time again is to scare the old people of this country. that's the politics of the past. in 1983 republicans and democrats dropped their political swords and in a bipartisan effort saved the social security system. republicans and democrats banded together because we know that this program is not a republican program, it's not a democrat program -- it's a program for older americans. and that program is actuarially sound to the turn of this century. >> john, a question for senator quayle. >> senator, since coming to the senate you have voted against environmental protection legislation about two-thirds of the time. this includes votes against pesticide controls, the toxic waste superfund, and health and safety protection from nuclear wastes. senator, do you consider yourself an environmentalist, and, if you do, how do you reconcile that with your voting record? >> i have a very strong record on the environment in the united states senate. [laughter] i have a record where i voted for the superfund legislation. i have a record where i voted
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against my president on the override of the clean water act. i have voted for the major pieces of environmental legislation that have come down and been voted on in the united states senate. this administration and i support this administration and its environmental efforts has moved in the area for the first time to deal with the ozone problem. we now have an international treaty, the treaty that is commonly referred to as the montreal treaty. for the first time we are talking about the impact of co2 to the ozone layer. that's progress with the environment. we are committed to the environment. i take my children hiking and fishing, walking in the woods, in the wilderness. believe me, we have a commit to
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preserving the environment. you bring up the environment, you can't help but think about the environmental policy of the governor of massachusetts. he talks about being an environmentalist. let me tell you about his environmental policy. the boston harbor -- the boston harbor, which is the dirtiest waterway in america, tons of raw sewage go in there each and every day. what has the governor of massachusetts done about that? virtually nothing. and then he has the audacity to go down to new jersey and tell the people of new jersey that he's against ocean dumping. this is the same governor that applied for a license to dump massachusetts sewage waste off the coast of new jersey. who has the environmental record? who has the environmental interest? george bush and i do. >> senator bentsen. >> this late conversion is interesting to me. [laughter] [applause] i must say, when they talk about boston harbor and he says he hasn't done anything, the facts are he has a $6-billion program under way on waste treatment. and it was this administration, their administration, that cut out the money early on to be able to clean up water, and made it impossible to move ahead at that time on boston harbor.
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we are the authors, the democratic party, of clean air, of clean water, of the superfund. i am one who played a very major role in passing the superfund legislation. and every environmental organization that i know, every major one, has now endorsed the dukakis-bentsen ticket. and i am one who has just received the environmental award in texas for the work i've done to clean up the bays, to clean up the water, off the coast of texas. no, i think we know well who's going to help clean up this environment. the record is there, the history is there. and dukakis and bentsen will be committed to that. [applause] >> tom brokaw, a question for senator quayle. >> thank you, judy. senator quayle, there's been a lot of talk during the course of this campaign about family. it was a principal theme, as i recall, in your acceptance speech in new orleans. tonight i'd like to ask you about the sixty-five million
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american children who live with their families in poverty. i'd like for you to describe to the audience the last time that you may have visited with one of those families personally and how you explain to that family your votes against the school breakfast program, the school lunch program, and the expansion of the child immunization program. [applause] >> i have met with those people, and i met with them in fort wayne, indiana, at a food bank. you may be surprised, tom, they didn't ask me those questions on those votes, because they were glad that i took time out of my schedule to go down and to talk about how we are going to get a food bank going and making sure that a food bank goes in fort wayne, indiana. and i have a very good record and a commitment to the poor, to those that don't have a family, that want to have a family. this administration, and a george bush administration, will be committed to eradicating poverty. poverty hasn't gone up in this
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administration; it hasn't gone down much either, and that means we have a challenge ahead of us. but let me tell you something, what we have done for the poor. what we have done for the poor is that we in fact the homeless bill, the mckinney act, which is the major piece of legislation that deals with homeless -- the congress has cut the funding that the administration has recommended. the poor and the poverty -- the biggest thing that we have done for poverty in america is the tax simplification act of 1986: six million working poor families got off the payroll; six million people are off the taxpaying payrolls because of that tax reform, and they are keeping the tax money there. to help the poor, we'll have a commitment to the programs and
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those programs will go on. and we are spending more in poverty programs today than we were in 1981 that is a fact. the poverty program we are going to concentrate on is creating jobs and opportunities, so that everyone will have the opportunities that they want.] >> senator bentsen, your response. >> i find that very interesting, because he has been of no help at all when it comes to passing the most major welfare reform bill in the history of our country, one where we are working very hard to see that people can get off welfare, break that cycle, take a step up in life, doing the kinds of things that we did there to let them have medicaid for a year. that's a positive thing that's done. what also frustrates me with the kind of report that i have just heard here is the kind of votes that he has cast against child nutrition programs, the fact that he has voted against money that we needed for further immunization, the denial of polio shots to kids where the
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parents couldn't afford to get that kind of a shot. >> tom, a question for senator bentsen. >> senator bentsen, i'd like to take you back to the question that judy asked you about your differences with michael dukakis on contra aid. after all, the contra aid is one of the cutting issues of foreign policy of this country in the last eight years. you and michael dukakis seem to be diametrically opposed on that. 1 have been told that in a closed session of the u.s. senate you made one of the most eloquent and statesmanlike speeches in behalf of contra aid that anyone had made in the eight years of the reagan term, that in fact you alluded to the threat that the sandinista regime could pose to your own state of texas. governor dukakis, on the other hand, has described the contra aid policy as immoral and illegal. is he wrong? [applause] >> gov. dukakis and i have disagreed on the contra program; no question about that. but my big difference with this administration is, they look at the contra aid program as the only way to resolve that
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problem. they concentrate on that. and i really think we have to give peace a chance. and that's why i have been a strong supporter of the arias plan, a plan that won the nobel prize for president arias, the president of costa rica. i believe you have to work with the leaders of those other central american countries to try to bring about the democratization of nicaragua by negotiation, by pressure, by counseling, by diplomatic pressure, that we ought to be trying that first. but in concentrating so much just on the contras, this administration has not paid enough attention to the rest of central america. the concern i have is that we have a country with 85 million people sharing a 2,000mile border with us, with half of those people under the age of 15, a country that's had its standard of living cut 50% in the last six years. now we ought to be concerned
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about that, and we ought to be involved. i was born and reared on that mexican border. i speak their language. i've spent a good part of my life down there. gov. dukakis speaks spanish, too. he's spent a good deal of time in central and south america. and we believe that we ought to be working with a new alliance for progress, bringing in other countries to help; bring in europeans, the spanish, who have a real affinity for that area; bringing in the japanese who have a great surplus now and looking for places to invest it. those are the positive things i think we could do to bring about peace in that area, to help raise that standard of living and give them the kind of stability where democracy can proceed and can prosper and bloom. those are the kinds of things
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that we'd be committed to in a dukakis-bentsen administration to try to make this world a better place in which to live. >> senator quayle, your response. >> there's no doubt in a dukakis administration that the aid would be cut off to the democratic resistance in nicaragua, and that is unfortunate. the reason it is unfortunate, because it is beyond me why it's okay for the soviet union to put in billions of dollars to prop up the communist sandinistas, but somehow it's wrong for the united states to give a few dollars to the democratic resistance. there's a thing called the monroe doctrine, something that the governor of massachusetts has said has been superseded. i doubt if many americans agree with that. i think they believe in the monroe doctrine. senator bentsen talked about the entire central america.
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there's another issue that michael dukakis is wrong on in central america, and that's grenada. he criticized our rescue mission in grenada, according to a upi report. criticized that, yet 85% of the american people supported our rescue mission, and we turned a communist country into a noncommunist country. the governor of massachusetts is simply out of step with mainstream america. >> brit hume, a question for senator bentsen. >> good evening, senator bentsen, senator quayle. i'm sort of the cleanup man in this order, and i've been asked by my colleagues to try to deal with anything that's been left on base. senator, i have a follow up question for you, senator quayle. but senator bentsen, i first want to ask you a question about pac money, a thing i'm sure you're prepared to talk about. gov. dukakis has tried to make ethics a major issue in the campaign. and he has you as a running mate, a man who leads the league at last count in the receipt of pac money, that being the money raised by the special interest organizations. that is a kind of campaign financing which gov. dukakis finds so distasteful that he has refused to accept any of it. do you find that embarrassing, senator? >> no, i don't find it embarrassing at all. because you have to remember that pac money is the result of the last campaign reform bill, one that talks about employees
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have greater participation. and what i've done in pac money is just what my opponent in my campaign has done in his campaign. he has been raising pac money, too. so what you have to do is comply with the laws as they are, whether you're paying taxes or you're playing a football game. whether you like those laws or not, you comply with them. now, i have been for campaign reform, and have pushed it very hard. i believe that we have to do some things in that regard. but i've noticed that the senator from indiana has opposed that campaign reform and voted repeatedly against it. the things we have to do, i believe, that will cut back on soft money, for example, which i look on as frankly one of those things that we've had to do because the republicans have done it for so long. but i think it's a loophole, frankly. but campaign reform, changing the rules of the game, is something we tried repeatedly in this session of the congress, but only to have the republicans lead the charge against us and defeat us. and i wish that senator quayle would change his mind on that particular piece of legislation and give us the kind of a campaign reform law that i
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think is needed in america. >> senator quayle, your response. >> senator bentsen is the number one pac raiser. as a matter of fact, he used to have a $10,000 breakfast club. $10,000 breakfast club. it only costs high paid lobbyists, special interests in washington, to come down and have breakfast with the chairman of the senate finance committee, the one that oversees all the tax loopholes in the tax code, $10,000. i'm sure they weren't paying to have cornflakes. ofl, i'll tell you the kind campaign reform i'm supporting, senator bentsen. i think it's time we get rid of pac money. support our legislation where we totally eliminate contributions by special interests and political action committees, and let's have the individual contribute and the political parties contribute. that's the kind of campaign reform that republicans are for. they want to get rid of this special interest and rely on the individuals, and also, the political parties.
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>> brit, your question for senator quayle. once again, let me caution the audience: please, keep your reactions as quiet as possible. brit? >> senator, i want to take you back if i can to the question judy asked you about some of the apprehensions people may feel about your being a heart beat away from the presidency. and let us assume if we can for the sake of this question that you have become vice president and the president is incapacitated for one reason or another, and you have to take the reins of power. when that moment came, what would be the first steps that you'd take, and why? >> first -- first, i'd say a prayer for myself and for the country that i'm about to lead. and then i would assemble his people and talk. and i think this question keeps going back to the qualifications and what kind of vice president in this hypothetical situation, if i had to assume the responsibilities of president, what i would be.
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and as i have said, age alone, although i can tell you, after the experiences of these last few week in the campaign, i've added ten years to my age, age alone is not the only qualification. you've got to look at experience, and you've got to look at accomplishments, and can you make a difference. have i made a difference in the united states senate where i've served for eight years? yes, i have. have i made a difference in the congress that i've served for 12 years? yes, i have. as i said before, looking at the issue of qualifications and i am delighted that it comes up, because on the three most important challenges facing america, arms control and national security, jobs and education and budget deficit, i have more experience and accomplishments than does the governor of massachusetts. i have been in the congress and
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i've worked on these issues. and believe me, when you look at arms control and trying to deal with the soviet union, you cannot come at it from a naive position. you have to understand the soviet union. you have to understand how they will respond. sitting on that senate armed services committee for eight years has given me the experience to deal with the soviet union and how we can move forward. that is just one of the troubling issues that's going to be facing this nation, and i'm prepared. >> senator bentsen. >> well, i can't leave something on the table that he's charged me with, and so let's get to that one. when you talk about the breakfast club, as you know, that was perfectly legal. and i formed it, and i closed it down almost immediately because i thought the perception was bad. but it's the same law it's the same law that lets you invite high priced lobbyists down to
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williamsburg. and bring them down there and entertain them playing golf, playing tennis, and bringing republican senators down there, to have exchanged for that contributions to their campaign. it's the same kind of law that lets you have honorariums and you've collected over a quarter of a million dollars of honorariums now, speaking to various interest groups. and there's no control over what you do with that money. you can spend it on anything you want to. you can spent it on golf club dues, if you want to do that. [applause] >> now, that's what i've seen you do in this administration. and that's why we need campaign reform laws, and why i support them. and you in turn have voted against them time and time again. [applause] >> john margolis, question for senator quayle. >> senator quayle, in recent years the reagan administration has scaled back the activities of the occupational safety and health administration, prompted in part by vice president bush's task force on regulatory relief. the budget for the agency has
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been cut by 20% and the number of inspections and manufacturing plants has been reduced by 33%. this has had a special effect in this area where many people work in the meat packing industry, which has a far higher rate of serious injuries than almost any other injury, a rate which appears to have been rising, although we're not really sure, because some of the largest companies have allegedly falsifying their reports. would you acknowledge to the hundreds of injured and maimed people nebraska, iowa and elsewhere in the midwest that in this case deregulation may have gone too far and the government should reassert itself in protecting workers' rights. >> the premise of your question, john, is that somehow this administration has been lax in enforcement of the osha regulations. and i disagree with that. and i'll tell you why. if you want to ask some business people that i talk to periodically, they complain about the tough enforcement of this administration and,
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furthermore, let me tell you this for the record, when we have found violations in this administration, there has not only been tough enforcement, but there have been the most severe penalties the largest penalties in the history of the department of labor have been levied when these violations have been found. there is a commitment and there will always be a commitment to the safety of our working men and women. they deserve it and we're committed to them. now, the broader question goes to the whole issue of deregulation and has deregulation worked or has deregulation not worked. in my judgment deregulation has worked. we have a deregulated economy and we have produced through low taxes, not high taxes, through deregulation the spirit of entrepreneurship, the individual going out and
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starting a business, the businessman or women willing to go out and risk their investments to start up a business and hire people. we have produced 17 million jobs in this country since 1982. deregulation as a form of political philosophy is a good philosophy. it's one that our opponents disagree with. they want a centralized government. but we believe in the market, we believe in the people and yes, there's a role of government and the role of government is to make sure that those safety and health and the welfare of the people is taken care of. and we'll continue to do that. >> senator bentsen? >> well, i think you see once again a piece of democratic legislation that's been passed to try protect the working men and women of america. and then you've seen an administration that came in and really didn't have it's heart in that kind of an enforcement. a good example of that is the environmental protection laws that we were talking about a moment ago.
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this administration came in and put in a james watt, an ann gorsuch, now that's the bonnie and clyde, really, of environmental protection. and that's why it's important that you have people that truly believe and trying to represent the working men and women of america. most employers do a good job of that, but some of them put their profits before people and that's why you have to have osha and that's why you have to have tough and good and fair enforcement of it and that's what a democratic administration would do to help make this working place a safer and better place to be employed. >> john margolis, another question for senator bentsen. >> senator bentsen, since you have been in the senate, the government has spent increasing amounts of money in an effort to protect the family farmer. though most of the subsidies seem to go do go to the largest and richest farmers who presumably need it least, while it's the smaller farmers who are often forced to sell out, sometimes to their large farmer neighbor who's gotten more
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subsidies to begin with. despite the fact that i believe you, sir, are a rather large farmer, yourself, do you believe that it's time to uncouple the subsidy formula from the amount of land the farmer has and target federal money to the small and medium size farmer? >> well, i've supported that. i voted for the 50,000 limitation to get away from the million dollar contributions to farmer. you know, of the four that are on this ticket, i'm the only on that was born and reared on a farm and still involved in farming, so i think i understand their concerns and their problems. now, i feel very strongly that we ought to be doing more for the american farmer and what we've seen under this administration is neglect of that farmer. we've seen them drive 220,000 farmers off the farm. they seem to think the answer is move them to town, but we ought not to be doing that. what you have seen them do is cut the farm assistance for the rural areas by over 50%. we're seeing rural hospitals
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close all over the country because of this kind of an administration. we've seen an administration that has lost much of our market abroad, because they have not had a trade policy. we saw our market loss by some 40%. reasons's one of the that we've seen the cost of the farm program, which was only about two and a half billion dollars when they took office, now go to about $25 billion. now, we can bring that kind of a cost down and get more to market prices if we'll have a good trade policy. i was in january visiting with mr. takeshita, the new prime minister of japan. i said, "you're paying five times as much for beef as we pay for our in country pay for it in our country, six times as much for rice. you have a $60 billion trade surplus with us. you could improve the standard of living of your people. you're spending 27% of your disposable income.
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on food. we spend 14 or 15%." "when you have that kind of barrier up against us, that's not free and fair trade and we don't believe that should continue." we would be pushing very hard to open up those markets and stand up for the american farmer and see that we recapture those foreign markets and i think we can do it with the dukakis- bentsen administration. >> senator quayle? >> senator bentsen talks about recapturing the foreign markets. well, i'll tell you one way that we're not going to recapture the foreign markets and that is if, in fact, we have another jimmy carter grain embargo. [cheering and booing] jimmy carter jimmy carter grain embargo set the american farmer back. you know what the farmer's interested in? net farm income. every 1% in increase in interest rates, a billion dollars out of the farmer's pocket. net farm income, increased inflation, another billion dollars.
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another thing that a farmer is not interested in and that's supply management that the democratic platform talks about. but the governor of massachusetts, he has a farm program. he went to the farmers in the midwest and told them not to grow corn, not to grow soybeans, but to grow belgium [sic] endive. that's what his that's what he and his harvard buddies think of the american farmer, grow belgium endive. to come in and to tell our farmers not to grow corn, not to grow soybeans, that's the kind of farm policy you'll get under a dukakis administration and one i think the american farmer rightfully will reject. >> tom brokaw, a question for senator bentsen. >> senator bentsen, you were a businessman before you entered the u.s. senate. let me offer you an inventory if i may: lower interest rates, lower unemployment, lower inflation and an arms control deal with the soviet union. now two guys come through your door at your business and say, "we'd like you to change," without offering a lot of specifics. why would you accept their deal?
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>> you know, if you let me write $200 billion worth of hot checks every year, i could give you an illusion of prosperity, too. [laughter and applause] this is an administration that has more than doubled the national debt, and they've done that in less than eight years. they have taken this country from the no. 1 lender nation in the world to the no. 1 debtor nation in the world. and the interest on that debt next year, on this reagan-bush debt of our nation, is going to be $640 for every man, woman, and child in america because of this kind of a credit-card mentality. so we go out and we try to sell our securities every week, and hope that the foreigners will buy them. and they do buy them. but every time they do, we lose some of our economic independence for the future. now they've turned around and they've bought 10%of the manufacturing base of this country.
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they bought 20% of the banks. they own 46% of the commercial real estate in los angeles. they are buying america on the cheap. now, when we have other countries that can't manage their economy down in central and south america, we send down the american ambassador, we send down the international monetary fund, and we tell them what they can buy and what they can sell and how to run their economies. the ultimate irony would be to have that happen to us, because foreigners finally quit buying our securities. so what we need in this country is someone like mike dukakis, who gave ten balanced budgets in a row there, and was able to do that, meet that kind of a commitment, set those tough priorities. we need an administration that will turn this trade policy around and open up those markets, stand tough with our trading partners to help keep the jobs at home and send the products abroad. >> senator quayle.
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>> senator bentsen talks about running up the debt. well, the governor of massachusetts has run up more debt than all the governors in the history of massachusetts combined, going back to the days of the pilgrims. i don't believe that that's the kind of policy that we want. the question went to the heart of the matter, tom. you asked the question why would we change. well, we have changed since 1980. we've got interest rates down, we've got inflation down, people are working again, america is held in respect once again around the world. but we are going to build on that change. and as we made those positive changes of lower interest rates, lower rate of inflation, the governor of massachusetts fought us every step of the way. we are proud of the record of accomplishment and the opportunities and the hope for millions of americans. hope and opportunity of these americans is because of the
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policies that we have had for the last eight years, and we want to build on that and change it for even the better. >> tom, a question for senator quayle. >> senator quayle, as you mentioned here tonight, you actively supported the invasion of grenada, which was a military operation to rescue some american medical students and to rescue an island from a marxist takeover. if military force was necessary in that endeavor, why not use the military to go after the south american drug cartels and after general noriega, for that matter, in a surgical strike, since drugs in the minds of most americans pose a far greater danger to many more people? [scattered applause] >> you are absolutely right that the drug problem is the no. 1 issue. >> but would you please address the military aspect of it. >> i will address the military aspect, if i may respond. the military aspect of the drug problem is being addressed. as a matter of fact, we are using the department of defense in a coordinated effort, in reconnaissance. but i don't believe that we are
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going to turn the department of defense into a police organization. we are using our military assets in a prudent way to deal with interdiction, and we've made some success in this area. seventy tons of cocaine have been stopped. but, you know, when you look at the drug problem and it is a tremendous problem, and there are no easy solutions to it it's a complicated problem, and it's heading up the effort to try to create a drug-free america, which is a challenge and a goal of all of us. not only will we utilize national defense and the department of defense, but we've got to get on the demand side of the ledger; we've got to get to education. and education ought to begin at home, and it ought to be reinforced in our schools. and there's another thing that will be more important than the premise of this question on a
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hypothetical of using troops. we will use the military assets, we will use military assets but we need to focus on another part of this problem, and that problem is law enforcement. and here is where we have a major disagreement with the governor of massachusetts. he is opposed to the death penalty for drug kingpins. we believe people convicted of that crime deserve the death penalty, as does the legislation that's in the congress that is supported by a bipartisan, including many democrats of his party. he also was opposed to mandatory drug sentencing for drug dealers in the state of massachusetts. you cannot have a war on drugs, you cannot be tough on drugs and weak on crime. >> senator bentsen. >> it's interesting to see that the senator from indiana, when we had a resolution on the floor of the united states senate sponsored by senator dole, that this government would make no deal with noriega that the senator from indiana was one of the dozen senators that voted against it. it's also interesting to see that one of his campaign managers that's trying to help
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him with his image was also hired by noriega to help him with his image in panama. [shouts and applause] what we have seen under this administration we have seen them using eight cabinet officers, twenty-eight different agencies, all fighting over turf and that is one thing we would correct under a dukakis-bentsen administration. we would put one person in charge in the war against drugs, and we would commit the resources to get that job done. now, mike dukakis has been able to do that type of thing in the state of massachusetts by cutting the drug use in the high schools while it's going up around the rest of the country, by putting in a drug educational program that the drug enforcement agency said was a model to the country. we would be doing that around the rest of the country. that's a positive attack against drugs. >> brit hume, a question for senator quayle. >> senator, i want to take you
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back to the question that i asked you earlier about what would happen if you were to take over in an emergency, and what you would do first and why. you said you would say a prayer, and you said something about a meeting. what would you do next? [laughter] >> i don't believe that it's proper for me to get into the specifics of a hypothetical situation like that. the situation is that if i was called upon to serve as the president of this country, or the responsibilities of the president of this country, would i be capable and qualified to do that? and i've tried to list the qualifications of twelve years in the united states congress. i have served in the congress for twelve years; i have served in the congress and served eight years on the senate armed services committee. i have traveled a number of times i've been to geneva many times to meet with our negotiators as
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we were hammering out the inf treaty; i've met with the western political leaders margaret thatcher, chancellor kohl i know them, they know me. i know what it takes to lead this country forward. and if that situation arises, yes, i will be prepared, and i will be prepared to lead this country, if that happens. [applause] >> senator bentsen. >> once again i think what we are looking at here is someone that can step in at the presidency level at the moment, if that tragedy would occur. and if that's the case, again you have to look at maturity of judgment, and you have to look at breadth of experience. you have to see what kind of leadership roles that person has played in his life before that crisis struck him.
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and if you do that type of thing, then you arrive at a judgment that i think would be a wise one. and i hope that would mean that you would say we are going to vote for mike dukakis and lloyd bentsen. [applause] >> brit, question for senator bentsen. >> senator, i want to take you back if i can to the celebrated breakfast club, when it was first revealed that you had a plan to have people pay $10,000 a plate to have breakfast with you. you handled it with disarming, not to say charming, candor, you said it was a mistake, and you disbanded it and called the whole idea off. and you were widely praised for having handled it deftly. the question i have is: if "the washington post" had not broken that story and other media picked up on it, what can you tell us tonight as to why we should not believe that you would still be having those breakfasts to this day? [scattered laughter] >> i really must say, brit, i don't make many mistakes, but that one was a real doozy. and i agree with that. and, as you know, i immediately disbanded it. it was perfectly legal.
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and you have all kinds of such clubs on the hill and you know that. but i still believe that the better way to go is to have a campaign reform law that takes care of that kind of a situation. even though it's legal, the perception is bad. so i would push very strong to see that we reform the entire situation. i'd work for that end, and that's what my friend from indiana has opposed repeatedly, vote after vote. >> senator quayle. >> he disbanded the club, but he's still got the money. he is the number one -- he is the number one receiver of political action committee money. now, senator bentsen has talked about reform. well, let me tell you about the reform that we're pushing. let's eliminate political action committees, the special interest money. there's legislation before the congress to do that. that way, we won't have to
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worry about breakfast clubs, or who's the number one pac raiser. we can go back and get the contributions from the working men and women and the individuals of america. we can also strengthen our two party system and it needs strengthening and rely more on the political parties than we have in the past. that's the kind of campaign reform that i'm for, and i hope the senator will join me. >> john margolis, a question for senator bentsen. >> senator, we've all just finished most america has just finished one of the hottest summers it can remember. and apparently this year will be the fifth out of the last nine that are among the hottest on record. no one knows, but most scientists think, that something we're doing, human beings are doing, are exacerbating this problem, and that this could, in a couple of generations, threaten our descendants comfort and health and perhaps even their existence. as vice president what would you urge our government to do to deal with this problem? and specifically as a texan, could you support a substantial
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reduction in the use of fossil fuels which might be necessary down the road? >> well, i think what you can do in that one, and which would be very helpful, is to use a lot more natural gas, which burns a lot cleaner. and what mike dukakis has said is that he'll try to break down those regulatory roadblocks that you have in the regulatory agency that denies much of the passage of that natural gas to the northeast, a way, in turn, can fight against acid rain which is another threat, because it's sterilizing our lakes, it's killing our fish. and it's interesting to me to see in the resume of senator quayle that he brags on the fact that he's been able to fight the acid rain legislation. i don't think that that's a proper objective in trying to clean up this environment. but the greenhouse effect is one that has to be a threat to all of us, and we have to look for alternative sources of fuel. and i've supported that very strongly. the department of energy is one that has cut back substantially
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on the study of those alternative sources of fuels. we can use other things that'll help the farmer. we can convert corn to ethanol, and i would push for that very strong. so absolutely. i'll do those things that are necessary to put the environment of our country number one. because if we don't protect that, we'll destroy the future of our children. and we must be committed to trying to clean up the water, clean up the air, and do everything we can, not only from a research standpoint, but also in the applied legislation to see that that's carried out. >> senator quayle? >> vice president george bush has said that he will take on the environmental problem. he has said further that he will deal with the acid rain legislation and reduce millions of tons of the s02 content. get legislation won't
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through the congress this year. but it will get through in a george bush administration, a george bush administration that is committed to the environment. now the greenhouse effect is an important environmental issue. it is important for us to get the data in, to see what alternatives we might have to the fossil fuels, and make sure we know what we're doing. and there are some explorations and things that we can consider in this area. the drought highlighted the problem that we have, and therefore, we need to get on with it, and in a george bush administration, you can bet that we will. >> john, a question for senator quayle. >> senator, as vice president your most important contribution would be the advice you gave the president. one of the most troubling facts that's going to face the new administration is the fact that the united states has now become the world's largest debtor nation. in 1987 foreigners underwrote our debts to the tune of about
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$138 billion. last week a top official of the japanese economic planning agency bragged that japan now is in a position to influence the value of the dollar, of our interest rates, and even our stock prices. and he warned that one day maybe they'd do just that. if you were vice president of the united states and japan did that, what would you tell the president to do? >> when you look at dealing with this total problem it's not just with the japanese, but the underlying question on this total world debt problem you have got to see, why are we a debtor, and what is attracting the foreign investment into our country today, whether it's japanese or others. i would rather have people come over here and to make investments in this country, rather than going elsewhere. because by coming over here,
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and making investments in this country, we are seeing jobs. do you realize that today we are producing hondas and exporting hondas to japan? we are the envy of the world. the united states [laughter] >> some of senator bentsen's supporters laugh at that. they laugh at that because they don't believe that the united states of america is the envy of the world. well, i can tell you, the american people think the united states of america is the envy of the world. [applause] >> senator -- oh, i'm sorry, go ahead. >> we are the greatest nation in this world, and the greatest economic power. now, there's been some talk in congress about forgiveness of debt.
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forgiveness of debt is wrong. forgiveness of international debt would be counterproductive. and i would like to see those that talk about forgiving debt, senator bentsen, go out and talk about a farmer that's in debt that doesn't have his forgiven. that's not the kind of policy george bush will have. >> senator bentsen. >> well, i've told you what i'd do about trade and trying to help turn that situation around. but what we also should do is get them to give us more burden sharing when it comes to national defense. we have a situation today where, on a per capita basis, people in western europe are spending about one-third as much as we are in our country. and then when you go to japan, where we're spending 6.5% on defense of the democracies, they're spending 1%. i met with some of the japanese business leaders, talking to them about it. and i said, you know, we have 50,000 troops here in japan,
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protecting the democracies of asia. and it costs $3.5 billion a year. you're the number two economic power in the world. you ought to measure up to that responsibility and carry some of that cost. i said, if we were not doing what we're doing, we'd have a big budget surplus. and i said, you'd have chaos, because you get 55% of your oil from the persian gulf, and you wouldn't have the u.s. navy down there to take care of that. now, the senator from indiana, when we passed a resolution in the united states senate to ask for burden sharing on that cost to keep those sea lanes open from the japanese, he votes against that. i don't understand that. >> tom brokaw, a question for senator quayle. >> senator quayle, i don't mean to beat this drum until it has no more sound in it. but to follow up on brit hume's question, when you said that it was a hypothetical situation, it is, sir, after all, the reason that we're here tonight, because you are running not just for vice president [applause] >> and if you cite the experience that you had in congress, surely you must have some plan in mind about what
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you would do if it fell to you to become president of the united states, as it has to so many vice presidents just in the last 25 years or so. >> let me try to answer the question one more time. i think this is the fourth time that i've had this question. >> the third time. >> three times that i've had this question and i will try to answer it again for you, as clearly as i can, because the question you are asking is what kind of qualifications does dan quayle have to be president, what kind of qualifications do i have and what would i do in this kind of a situation. and what would i do in this situation? i would make sure that the people in the cabinet and the people that are advisors to the president are called in, and i would talk to them, and i will work with them. and i will know them on a firsthand basis, because as vice president i will sit on the national security council. and i will know them on a firsthand basis, because i'm going to be coordinating the drug effort.
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i will know them on a firsthand basis because vice president george bush is going to recreate the space council, and i will be in charge of that. i will have day-to-day activities with all the people in government. and then, if that unfortunate situation happens if that situation, which would be very tragic, happens, i will be prepared to carry out the responsibilities of the presidency of the united states of america. and i will be prepared to do that. i will be prepared not only because of my service in the congress, but because of my ability to communicate and to lead. it is not just age; it's accomplishments, it's experience. i have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. i have as much experience in the congress as jack kennedy did when he sought the presidency.
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i will be prepared to deal with the people in the bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur. >> senator bentsen. >> senator, i served with jack kennedy, i knew jack kennedy, jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you are no jack kennedy. [shouts and applause] what has to be done in a situation like that is to call in the >> please, please, once again you are only taking time away from your own candidate. >> that was really uncalled for, senator. [shouts and applause] >> you are the one that was making the comparison, senator, and i'm one who knew him well. and frankly i think you are so
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far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that i did not think the comparison was well-taken. >> tom, a question for senator bentsen. >> since you seem to be taking no hostages on the stage, let me ask you a question -- [laughter] -- about the american hostages, nine, still in brutal captivity in the middle east. senator bentsen, you have been critical of the iran-contra affair, but tell me, does the dukakis-bentsen ticket have any realistic plan for getting the american hostages being held in the middle east released in any due time? >> tom, that's one of the toughest problems that any chief executive will face, because you can't help but have sympathy for that family, and for those hostages in the cells. but the one thing we ought to know by now is that you can't go out and make secret deals with the ayatollah, you can't trade arms for hostages. when you try to do that there is no question but what you
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just encourage more taking of hostages. and that's been the result by this dumb idea that was cooked up in the white house basement. and i want to tell you that george bush, attending seventeen of those meetings, and having no record of what he said if lloyd bentsen was in those meetings, you would certainly hear from him and no one would be asking: where is lloyd? [shouts and applause] because i would be saying: that's a dumb idea, and now let's put an end to it. and i would speak up on that type of thing. so all you can do in that is to continue to push, use every bit of diplomatic pressure you can, what you can do in the way of economic pressure in addition to that. and that's what you would strive to do to have a successful release finally of those hostages. but not to encourage more taking of hostages. >> senator quayle.
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>> there's no doubt about it that arms for hostages is wrong, and it will never be repeated we learn by our mistakes. but there have been a number of successes in foreign policy in this administration. but the question goes to a very difficult one: how do you do it? no one has the answer. if they did, we would certainly do it. but we will keep trying, we'll keep the doors open, and hopefully some day iran and others who control those hostages will want to return to civilized international community. and they can do that, starting now, by releasing those hostages that are held illegally. >> brit hume, a question for senator bentsen. >> senator, much of the dukakis and bentsen campaign of late
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has been devoted to the notion that senator quayle isn't ready for the vice presidency and perhaps the presidency, and certainly nothing that you have said here tonight suggests that you think otherwise. i wonder if you think it's really fair for you to advance that view in light of the fact that you ran for the presidency, not the vice- presidency, in 1976 having not yet completed one full term in the senate and having previously served three terms in the house almost a quarter of a century earlier, when in fact your time in washington was about equal to what he has now. >> well, i think what you have to look at is the record of a man who has served his country [shouts, laughter] served his country in war, headed up a squadron in combat, a man who built a business, knew what it was to meet a payroll and create jobs, and then serve in the united states senate; and one who has been able to bring about some of the kinds of legislation that i've been able to bring about in my service there.
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i must say i didn't do a very good job of running for the presidency, and i'm well aware of that. but what we are looking at today is trying to judge once again the breadth of experience and the maturity of someone taking on this kind of a task. that is the judgment that has to be exercised by the people of america. it's a presidential decision that you are facing, and a very important one, because we are talking about who is going to lead this country into its future. and you can't have a more important responsibility than that one. >> senator quayle. >> when you look at qualifications, you look at accomplishments as well as experience. and one of the accomplishments i'm proudest of is the authorship of the job training partnership act that has trained and educated and employed over three million
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young people and adults that are economically disadvantaged. and we did it in a way that we got the private sector to involve itself with the public sector on private industry councils throughout america that serve over the service delivery areas. we have 51% of that private industry council that are businessmen and women; we have members of unions; we have community-based organizations; we have education leaders. and what we have been able to do is establish a program that is working, that is putting people back to work. that is an accomplishment, and that is an accomplishment that i will take with me into the white house. >> brit, a question for senator quayle. >> senator, i want to ask you a question that may be a little off the subject of politics, but which is aimed to get more at the question of what sort of person you are. i would hope that, senator bentsen, if you choose to, you might choose to answer the same question in your rebuttal time. senator, can you identify any work of literature or art or even of film that you have seen or read or experienced in any
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way in the last two years that has had a particularly strong effect on you, and tell us why. >> in the last six months, i think there are three very important books that i read that have had an impact. the three books are, one, richard nixon's victory in 1999, richard lugar's senator richard lugar's letters to the next president, bob massey's nicholas and alexandra, which deals with the fall of the russian empire and the coming of leninism in 1917. those three books, which i read over the last spring vacation and early summer, had a very definite impact, because what former president nixon and senator richard lugar were talking about was a foreign policy as we move toward the
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21st century. and the historical book of the downfall of the czar and the coming of leninism, combining those three books together, gave me a better appreciation of the challenges that we have ahead of us. hesenator lugar's book, talks about the advancement of human rights around the world; he talked about his leadership effort in the philippines and south africa, where we now see human rights advancement on the reagan agenda. former president nixon talked about what we are going to do after detente and arms control, and how we are going to pursue new arms control with the soviet union; he talked a little bit about how we deal with the soviet union and this is one of the differences between george bush and michael dukakis, because george bush understands that to deal with the soviet union and to get progress you must deal from a position of strength. and the governor of massachusetts doesn't understand
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that. i understand it. and a george bush administration will pursue that policy. >> senator bentsen. >> well, i think reading "winds of war" and "guns of august" back to back i think that really shows you how we make the same mistakes too often, over and over again. and it seems to me that the senator from indiana is beginning to do that one. as i look toward our progress that's been made toward disarmament and cutting back on nuclear weapons and see what ronald reagan has been able to do with the inf treaty and i think he deserves great credit with that one. i see a situation where the senator from indiana has now jumped off the reservation, when we talk about building on what ronald reagan has done and opposes what ronald reagan wants to do, the joint chiefs of staff and the secretary of defense and says let's go slow
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on further disarmament in trying to get the next treaty. i think that's a mistake. i think that you have to deal with the russians from strength and we have to understand that you have to have a strong modernized nuclear deterrent, but i think we can make substantial progress and we ought to take advantage. i think he's arrived at a very dangerous judgment in the question of war and peace and it concerns me very much. because i saw him also try to sabotage the inf treaty when it was on the floor of the united states senate with what he was doing there. he's listening once again to the winds of the radical right. >> senator. >> my light was still on, judy. >> john margolis, a question for senator quayle. >> senator quayle, i want to go back to the matter of qualifications, which i think for most people is more than just your >> john, we can't hear you.
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>> can you hear now? >> i can hear you. [laughter] >> i want to go back to the question of qualifications, which i think for most people is more than just how long you've been in the senate and how long you've been in public life. there's also a question of candor and of consistency. and several of the things you've said, both here and earlier, i think have raised some reasonable questions. each of them alone might seem rather trivial, but i think together they create a pattern that needs to be asked. you've talked a few times today about the job training partnership act, which you authored. in fact, i believe you co- authored it with another senator, whom you almost never name. earlier in the campaign when you were asked why you got a very a desk job in the national guard after being trained as a welder, you said at the time you had a very strong background in journalism, which at that time was summer jobs at your family- owned newspaper, which you have not been very forthcoming about what they were.
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as you have not been very forthcoming about your college record. now, i have to say at least the males on this panel have earlier agreed that your record was probably comparable to ours, but [laughter] >> nonetheless, these examples of sort of overstatement and exaggeration and not being forthcoming this what has led a lot of people to question this part of your qualifications, not your experience, but your character. would you like to set some of these things straight now as to what you did in your summer jobs in college, what your grades were like and would you like to identify your co-sponsor of the job training partnership act? >> all in two minutes? >> sure. >> let me start with the underlying premise, that somehow i haven't been straightforward. and i have. and let's go to the right to the very first question the job training partnership act. i was the author of that. the co-author in the united
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states senate was senator kennedy. i was the chairman of the employment and productivity subcommittee. chairmen of the committee write that legislation. chairmen of the committee write the legislation and then they go out and get co-sponsorship. and when you are the chairman of the committee and you sit down and you write the legislation, you are the author of that. thei'm proud to have been author of that. because you know what we had, we had a ceta program that spent $50 billion from about 1973 through 1982 and when we concluded that program when we concluded that program, unemployment was higher than when it began. it was a program that didn't work and the job training partnership act does work. now, the issue of releasing all the my grades i am and i stand before you
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tonight as the most investigated person ever to seek public office. [applause] >> thousands of journalists have asked every professor i've had, all my teachers and they know and i have never professed to be anything but an average student. i have never said i was anything more than that, but it's not whether you're an average study, it's what are you going to do with your life. and what have i going to do with my life. i have committed it to public service since i was 29 years of age elected to the house of representatives. elected to the united states senate when i was 33. i now have the opportunity at 41 to seek the office of the vice presidency. >> senator bentsen?
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>> i have absolutely no quarrel with senator quayle's military record. but i do strongly disagree with him on some of the issues. you make great patriotic speeches and i enjoy them, but i don't understand your vote on veterans issues. senator quayle has one of the worst voting records in the united states senate on veterans issues. and one of them that particularly bothers me, sponsoring legislation to put a tax on combat pay and disability pay for veterans, for fighting men and women of america. tax on their disability pay when they're lying there in the hospital, people who have sacrificed for our country. i think you ought to explain that to the people of america and you ought to explain it tonight. >> john, a question for senator bentsen. >> senator, you're chairman of the senate finance committee and you're generally considered
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rather an orthodox conservative on fiscal matters, meaning someone who would be very concerned about the budget deficit. with everybody in politics afraid even to mention taxes, more social security cuts or even very much restrain in defense sending, would you now list a few specific programs which would reduce or eliminate which you would reduce or eliminate, to cut the deficit by about $50 billion, the deficit which is expected to be about $135 billion this fiscal year. >> one of them that i'd work on and i do this as a farmer i try to turn the situation around where we have seen the subsidy payments go from two and a half billion to ten times that under this administration. and the way i would accomplish that--was with a tough trade policy, opening up those markets, getting those prices back up to market prices. we can do that if we have an aggressive trade policy for our country, if we make trade a number one priority and not trade it off for some foreign policy objective at the moment. that means we have to stand up
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for the american farmers and that cuts back on the regulation on american farmers. that's a positive way to accomplish that. in addition to that, we do some of the things that i think have to be done insofar as doing a better job of procurement, particularly when we're talking about some of our military things that we should buy. i know that i fought very hard to put in an independent inspector general for the defense department, that the senator from indiana opposed me on that. but we were finally able to put that into effect and we saved over a quarter of a billion dollars this year, almost enough to buy a squadron of 716s. those are the kids of things that i'd work on. one of the things i learned in business is that you can expect what you inspect. so, we'd be a doing a much tougher job of auditing, to try to get rid of some of these kickbacks to consultants on military contracts, to be much more aggressive on that.
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in addition, those types of things would bring the interest rate down. i'd try to turn this trade deficit around and that too would help us and help us very substantially. and i'd get rid of some things like these planes that are going to have that the administration wants that'll fly from new york to tokyo and take those investment bankers over there in four hours. i don't think we can afford a piece of technological elegance like that. i'd strike that sort of thing from the ticket. i don't know how many people have ridden the concorde, not many, but i voted against it, said it would be a financial disaster and it's been just that. >> senator. >> so, those are the types of things that i would work on. >> senator quayle? >> the way we're going to reduce this budget deficit, and it is a challenge to make sure that it is reduce, is first to stick to the gramm-rudman targets. the gramm-rudman targets have worked. we've reduced the federal budget deficit $70 billion. senator bentsen voted against gramm-rudman, the very tool
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that has been used to bring the federal budget deficit down. we're going to need all the tools possible to bring this federal budget deficit down. we need the tools of a line item veto. a line item veto that 43 governors in this country have, but not the president of the united states. the president of the united states needs to have a line item veto. when congress goes ahead and puts into appropriations bills unrequested and unnecessary spending, let the president put a line through that, send it back to the congress and let the congress vote on it again. congress has to help out in reducing this budget deficit as much as the executive branch. >> tom brokaw, a last question for senator bentsen. >> senator bentsen, i'd like to ask you about your split personality during this election year.
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you're running on the ticket with michael dukakis, a man who is opposed to the death penalty, a man who is in favor of gun control, and at the same time you're running for the united states senate in the state of texas, where your position on many of those same issues is well known, and absolutely opposed to him. how do you explain to the people of texas how you can be a social conservative on those cutting issues and still run with michael dukakis on the national ticket? >> michael dukakis wasn't looking for a clone. i think it's part of the strength and the character of
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this land that he reaches out, and that he wants someone that will speak up and that i'll do. i've seen many chief executives come into my office and say they're going over and tell the president of the united states off, they're going to pound the desk, and go into that office and turn to jello. now, i've dealt with many a president, and i don't hesitate for a minute to speak up. but when you're talking about something like the death penalty, where michael dukakis and i do disagree, what you really ought to get to is what's being done against crime, and what kind of progress he's been able to make. in the state of massachusetts he has the homicide rate down to the lowest of any industrial state. it's substantially ahead of the national average. he's been able to do that with an educated program for the people of that state by adding some 1,500 new police officers; he's done it in turn by the leadership that i think he will bring to the ticket when he becomes president of the united states and fighting drugs. he's taken it down some 4% in the high schools of that state, while it's gone up about the rest of the nation.
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but you would seem him as president of the united states being very aggressive in this fight against crime, and having that kind of a successful result. and that's one of the reasons i'm delighted and proud to be on the ticket with him. sure, we have some differences, but overall we have so many things we agree on. this situation of a trade policy, of cutting back on the deficit. those are positive, plus things, and major issues facing our nation. >> senator quayle. >> one of the things that they don't agree on is in the area of national defense. national defense, and how we're going to preserve the freedom in this country. michael dukakis is the most liberal national democrat to seek the office of presidency since george mcgovern. he is for -- he is against the mx missile, the midgetman, cutting two aircraft carriers. he is opposed to many defense programs that are necessary to defend this country. that's why former secretary of defense and former energy secretary in the carter administration, jim schlesinger, in an open letter to time magazine asked governor dukakis, "are you viscerally anti- military?"
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jim schlesinger never got an answer. and the reason he did is because the governor of massachusetts doesn't want to answer former secretary jim schlesinger on that very important question. >> tom, a last question for senator quayle. >> senator quayle, all of us in our lifetime encounter an experience that helps shapes our adult philosophy in some form or another. could you describe for this audience tonight what experience you may have had, and how it shaped our political philosophy? >> there are a lot of experiences that i've had that have shaped my adult philosophy, but the one that i keep coming back to time and time again and i talk about it at commencement addresses, i talk about it in the high schools. i talk about it when i visit the job training centers. and it's the advice that my maternal grandmother, martha pulliam, who's 97 years old.
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we are a modern day, four generation family. the advice that she gave me when i was growing up is advice that i've given my children, and i've given to a number of children, number of people. and it's very simple. it's very common sense. and she says, "you can do anything you want to if you just set your mind to it, and go to work." now, the dukakis supporters sneer at that because it's common sense. [laughter] >> they sneer at common sense advice. midwestern advice. midwestern advice from a grandmother to a grandson.
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important advice. something that we ought to talk about, because if you want to, you can make a difference. you, america can make a difference. you're going to have that choice come this election. everyone can make a difference if they want to. >> senator bentsen? >> i think being born and reared on the rio grande, to have spent part of my life seeing some of the struggles that have taken place in one of the lowest per capita incomes in the united states. and that's one of the reasons i worked so hard to try to assist
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on education. and when i found that the bankers in that area found that they could not handle the loans because of some of the detail and the expense, coul't make a profit on it, i went down there and helped form a nonprofit organization, to buy out those loans from them, and to manage them, and do it in a way where they'd continue to make those loans. now they have. and they've educated more than 20,000 of those students, loaned out over a hundred million dollars. and it hasn't cost the taxpayers of this country one cent. that's one of the reasons i've worked so hard to bring better health care to the people, because what i've seen in the way of poverty down there in that area, and the lack of medical attention, and trying to see that that's turned around; why i've worked so hard on the welfare reform bill--to give them a chance to break these cycles of poverty, a chance for a step up in life. judy, something's happened. my light's still on. >> your light's not working. >> all right. >> we're sorry about that if that's the case. thank you. thank you, senator bentsen. thank you, senator quayle.
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we have now come to the end of the questions, and before i ask the candidates to make their closing remarks, on behalf of the commission on presidential debates, i'd like to thank all of you for joining us. senator quayle, yours is the first closing statement. >> thank you. tonight has been a very important evening. you have been able to see dan quayle as i really am, and how george bush and i want to lead this country into the future. thank you, america, for listening, and thank you for your fairness. now you will have a choice to make on election day. you will have a choice of whether america is going to choose the road of michael dukakis or the road of george bush as we march toward the 21st century. the road of michael dukakis comes down to this: bigger government, higher taxes. they've always believed in higher taxes; they always have, and they always will.
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cuts in national defense. back to the old economics of high interest rates, high inflation, and the old politics of high unemployment. now the road of george bush is the road to the future, and it comes down to this: an america second to none, with visions of greatness, economic expansion, tough laws, tough judges, strong values, respect for the flag and our institutions. george bush will lead us to the 21st century, a century that will be of hope and peace. ronald reagan and george bush saved america from decline. we changed america. michael dukakis fought us every step of the way.
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it's not that they're not sympathetic; it's simply that they will take america backwards. george bush has the experience, and with me, the future, a future committed to our family, a future committed to the freedom. thank you, good night, and god bless you. [applause] >> senator bentsen, your closing statement. >> in just 34 days, america will elect new leadership for our country. it's a most important decision, because there's no bigger job than governing this great
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country of ours, and leading it into its future. mike dukakis and lloyd bentsen offer you experience, tempered, capable leadership, to meet those challenges of the future. our opposition says lower your sights, rest on your laurels. mike dukakis and lloyd bentsen think america can do better, that america can't just coast into the future, clinging to the past. this race is too close. the competition is too tough, the stakes are too high. michael dukakis and lloyd bentsen think america must move into that future united in a commitment to make this country
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of ours the most powerful, the most prosperous nation in the world. as americans, we honor our past, and we should. but our children are going to live in the future, and mike dukakis says the best of america is yet to come. but that won't happen. taking care of our economy, just putting it on automatic pilot. it won't happen by accident. it's going to take leadership, and it's going to take courage. and the commitment, and a contribution by all of us to do that. i've worked for the betterment of our country, both in war and peace, as a bomber pilot, as one who has been a businessman, and a united states senator, working to make this nation the fairest and the strongest and the most powerful in the world. help us bring america to a new era of greatness. the debate has been ours, but the decision is yours. god bless you. [applause] [captioning performed by
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national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [applause]
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>> the debate held website providing live and on demand information what were you will find live coverage of behind- the-scenes sights and sounds from the debates. we have all the questions available as a separate clip for you to search and watched by topic. you can read streaming tweets at at the 2012 campaign debate hub -- c-span.org/debates. on "newsmakers," steve israel.
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the chair of the dnc -- democratic congressional campaign committee. today at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c- span. >> almost 20 years ago, we broadcast one of the most controversial stories in our 44 years on the air. i was accused of being a philistines, someone lacking the aesthetic sensibility to appreciate the challenging nature of some contemporary art. works that i questioned the are now worth hundreds of millions of dollars. >> what made everybody so mad? >> i discovered something that i could barely believe. when you question someone's
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taste in art, it is more personal, more probing than their politics, religion, sexual preference. it is something that goes to the very soul. >> morley safer on "60 minutes" and journalism today. tonight at 8. >> now, the 2008 vice- presidential debate between joe biden and alaska gov. sarah pailin. the most watched the vice- presidential debate in history. it is the second most watched debate ever. senator biden and the governor met at washington university in st. louis. the moderator was gwen ifill.
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>> good evening from washington university in st. louis, missouri. i'm gwen ifill of "the newshour" and "washington week" on pbs. welcome to the first and the only 2008 vice presidential debate between the republican nominee, governor sarah palin of alaska, and the democratic nominee, joe biden of delaware. the commission on presidential debates is the sponsor of this event and the two remaining presidential debates. tonight's discussion will cover a wide range of topics, including domestic and foreign policy matters. it will be divided roughly into five-minute segments. each candidate will have 90 seconds to respond to a direct question and then an additional two minutes for rebuttal and follow-up. the order has been determined by a coin toss. the specific subjects and questions were chosen by me and have not been shared or cleared
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with anyone on the campaigns or on the commission. the audience here in the hall has promised to remain very polite, no cheers, applause, no untoward outbursts, except right at this minute now, as we welcome governor palin and senator biden. [applause] >> nice to meet you. >> it's a pleasure. >> hey, can i call you joe? >> thank you. thank you, gwen. thank you. thank you. [applause] >> welcome to you both. as we have determined by a coin toss, the first question will go to senator biden, with a 90- second follow-up from governor palin. the house of representatives this week passed a bill, a big bailout bill -- or didn't pass it, i should say. the senate decided to pass it,
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and the house is wrestling with it still tonight. as america watches these things happen on capitol hill, senator biden, was this the worst of washington or the best of washington that we saw play out? >> let me begin by thanking you, gwen, for hosting this. and, governor, it's a pleasure to meet you, and it's a pleasure to be with you. i think it's neither the best or worst of washington, but it's evidence of the fact that the economic policies of the last eight years have been the worst economic policies we've ever had. as a consequence, you've seen what's happened on wall street. if you need any more proof positive of how bad the economic theories have been, this excessive deregulation, the failure to oversee what was going on, letting wall street run wild, i don't think you needed any more evidence than what you see now. so the congress has been put -- democrats and republicans have been put in a very difficult
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spot. but barack obama laid out four basic criteria for any kind of rescue plan here. he, first of all, said there has to be oversight. we're not going to write any check to anybody unless there's oversight for the -- of the secretary of treasury. he secondly said you have to focus on homeowners and folks on main street. thirdly, he said that you have to treat the taxpayers like investors in this case. and, lastly, what you have to do is make sure that ceos don't benefit from this, because this could end up, in the long run, people making money off of this rescue plan. and so, as a consequence of that, it brings us back to maybe the fundamental disagreement between governor palin and me and senator mccain and barack obama, and that is that the -- we're going to fundamentally change the focus of the economic policy.
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we're going to focus on the middle class, because it's -- when the middle class is growing, the economy grows and everybody does well, not just focus on the wealthy and corporate america. >> thank you, senator. governor palin? >> thank you, gwen. and i thank the commission, also. i appreciate this privilege of being able to be here and speak with americans. you know, i think a good barometer here, as we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time in america's economy, is go to a kid's soccer game on saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, "how are you feeling about the economy?" and i'll bet you, you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice, fear regarding the few investments that some of us have in the stock market. the barometer there, i think, is going to be resounding that our economy is hurting and the federal government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and that we deserve, and we need reform to that end. now, john mccain thankfully has been one representing reform. two years ago, remember, it was john mccain who pushed so hard with the fannie mae and freddie mac reform measures. he sounded that warning bell. people in the senate with him, his colleagues, didn't want to
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listen to him and wouldn't go towards that reform that was needed then. i think that the alarm has been heard, though, and there will be that greater oversight, again thanks to john mccain's bipartisan efforts that he was so instrumental in bringing folks together over this past week, even suspending his own campaign to make sure he was putting excessive politics aside and putting the country first. >> you both would like to be vice president. senator biden, how, as vice president, would you work to shrink this gap of polarization which has sprung up in washington, which you both have spoken about here tonight? >> well, that's what i've done my whole career, gwen, on very, very controversial issues, from dealing with violence against women, to putting 100,000 police officers on the street, to trying to get something done about the genocide in -- that was going on in bosnia. and i -- i have been able to reach across the aisle. i think it's fair to say that i have almost as many friends on
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the republican side of the aisle as i do the democratic side of the aisle. but am i able to respond to -- are we able to stay on the -- on the topic? >> you may, if you like. >> yes, well, you know, until two weeks ago -- it was two mondays ago john mccain said at 9 o'clock in the morning that the fundamentals of the economy were strong. two weeks before that, he said george -- we've made great economic progress under george bush's policies. nine o'clock, the economy was strong. eleven o'clock that same day, two mondays ago, john mccain said that we have an economic crisis. that doesn't make john mccain a bad guy, but it does point out he's out of touch. those folks on the sidelines knew that two months ago. >> governor palin, you may respond. >> john mccain, in referring to the fundamental of our economy being strong, he was talking to and he was talking about the american workforce. and the american workforce is the greatest in this world, with the ingenuity and the work ethic that is just entrenched in our workforce. that's a positive. that's encouragement. and that's what john mccain
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meant. now, what i've done as a governor and as a mayor is [inaudible] i've had that track record of reform. and i've joined this team that is a team of mavericks with john mccain, also, with his track record of reform, where we're known for putting partisan politics aside to just get the job done. now, barack obama, of course, he's pretty much only voted along his party lines. in fact, 96% of his votes have been solely along party line, not having that proof for the american people to know that his commitment, too, is, you know, put the partisanship, put the special interests aside, and get down to getting business done for the people of america. we're tired of the old politics as usual. and that's why, with all due respect, i do respect your years in the u.s. senate, but i think americans are craving something new and different and that new energy and that new commitment that's going to come with reform. i think that's why we need to send the maverick from the senate and put him in the white house, and i'm happy to join him there. >> governor, senator, neither of you really answered that last question about what you would do as vice president. i'm going to come back to that -- [laughter] throughout the evening to try to see if we can look forward, as well. now, let's talk about -- the next question is to talk about the subprime lending meltdown. who do you think was at fault?
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i start with you, governor palin. was it the greedy lenders? was it the risky home-buyers who shouldn't have been buying a home in the first place? and what should you be doing about it? >> darn right it was the predator lenders, who tried to talk americans into thinking that it was smart to buy a $300,000 house if we could only afford a $100,000 house. there was deception there, and there was greed and there is corruption on wall street. and we need to stop that. again, john mccain and i, that commitment that we have made, and we're going to follow through on that, getting rid of that corruption. >> one thing that americans do at this time, also, though, is let's commit ourselves just every day american people, joe six pack, hockey moms across the nation, i think we need to band together and say never again. never will we be exploited and taken advantage of again by those who are managing our money and loaning us these dollars. we need to make sure that we
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demand from the federal government strict oversight of those entities in charge of our investments and our savings and we need also to not get ourselves in debt. let's do what our parents told us before we probably even got that first credit card. don't live outside of our means. we need to make sure that as individuals we're taking personal responsibility through all of this. it's not the american people's fault that the economy is hurting like it is, but we have an opportunity to learn a heck of a lot of good lessons through this and say never again will we be taken advantage of. >> senator? >> well gwen, two years ago barack obama warned about the sub prime mortgage crisis. john mccain said shortly after that in december he was surprised there was a sub prime mortgage problem. john mccain while barack obama
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was warning about what we had to do was literally giving an interview to "the wall street journal" saying that i'm always for cutting regulations. we let wall street run wild. john mccain and he's a good man, but john mccain thought the answer is that tried and true republican response, deregulate, deregulate. so what you had is you had overwhelming "deregulation." you had actually the belief that wall street could self-regulate itself. and while barack obama was talking about reinstating those regulations, john on 20 different occasions in the previous year and a half called for more deregulation. as a matter of fact, john recently wrote an article in a major magazine saying that he wants to do for the health care industry deregulate it and let the free market move like he did for the banking industry. so deregulation was the promise. and guess what? those people who say don't go into debt, they can barely pay to fill up their gas tank. i was recently at my local gas station and asked a guy named joey danco. i said joey, how much did it
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cost to fill your tank? you know what his answer was? he said i don't know, joe. i never have enough money to do it. the middle class needs relief, tax relief. they need it now. they need help now. the focus will change with barack obama. >> governor, please if you want to respond to what he said about senator mccain's comments about health care? >> i would like to respond about the tax increases. we can speak in agreement here that darn right we need tax relief for americans so that jobs can be created here. now, barack obama and senator biden also voted for the largest tax increases in u.s. history. barack had 94 opportunities to side on the people's side and reduce taxes and 94 times he voted to increase taxes or not support a tax reduction, 94 times. now, that's not what we need to create jobs and really bolster and heat up our economy. we do need the private sector to be able to keep more of what we earn and produce. government is going to have to learn to be more efficient and live with less if that's what it takes to reign in the government growth that we've
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seen today. but we do need tax relief and barack obama even supported increasing taxes as late as last year for those families making only $42,000 a year. that's a lot of middle income average american families to increase taxes on them. i think that is the way to kill jobs and to continue to harm our economy. >> senator? >> the charge is absolutely not true. barack obama did not vote to raise taxes. the vote she's referring to, john mccain voted the exact same way. it was a budget procedural vote. john mccain voted the same way. it did not raise taxes. number two, using the standard that the governor uses, john mccain voted 477 times to raise taxes. it's a bogus standard it but if you notice, gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending john mccain about not
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going along with the deregulation, letting wall street run wild. he did support deregulation almost across the board. that's why we got into so much trouble. >> would you like to have an opportunity to answer that before we move on? >> i'm still on the tax thing because i want to correct you on that again. and i want to let you know what i did as a mayor and as a governor. and i may not answer the questions the way that either the moderator or you want to hear, but i'm going to talk straight to the american people and let them know my track record also. as mayor, every year i was in office i did reduce taxes. i eliminated personal property taxes and eliminated small business inventory taxes and as governor we suspended our state fuel tax. we did all of those things knowing that that is how our economy would be heated up. now, as for john mccain's adherence to rules and regulations and pushing for even harder and tougher regulations, that is another thing that he is known for though. look at the tobacco industry. look at campaign finance reform. >> ok, our time is up here. we've got to move to the next question. senator biden, we want to talk about taxes, let's talk about
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taxes. you proposed raising taxes on people who earn over $250,000 a year. the question for you is, why is that not class warfare and the same question for you, governor palin, is you have proposed taxing employer health benefits which some studies say would actually throw five million more people onto the roles of the uninsured. i want to know why that isn't taking things out on the poor, starting with you, senator biden. >> well gwen, where i come from, it's called fairness, just simple fairness. the middle class is struggling. the middle class under john mccain's tax proposal, 100 million families, middle class families, households to be precise, they got not a single change, they got not a single break in taxes. no one making less than $250,000 under barack obama's plan will see one single penny of their tax raised whether it's their capital gains tax, their income tax, investment tax, any tax.
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and 95% of the people in the united states of america making less than $150,000 will get a tax break. now, that seems to me to be simple fairness. the economic engine of america is the middle class. it's the people listening to this broadcast. when you do well, america does well. even the wealthy do well. this is not punitive. john wants to add $300 million, billion in new tax cuts per year for corporate america and the very wealthy while giving virtually nothing to the middle class. we have a different value set. the middle class is the economic engine. it's fair. they deserve the tax breaks, not the super wealthy who are doing pretty well. they don't need any more tax breaks. and by the way, they'll pay no more than they did under ronald reagan. >> governor?
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>> i do take issue with some of the principle there with that redistribution of wealth principle that seems to be espoused by you. but when you talk about barack's plan to tax increase affecting only those making $250,000 a year or more, you're forgetting the millions of small businesses that are going to fit into that category. so they're going to be the ones paying higher taxes thus resulting in fewer jobs being created and less productivity. now you said recently that higher taxes or asking for higher taxes or paying higher taxes is patriotic. in the middle class of america which is where todd and i have been all of our lives, that's not patriotic. patriotic is saying, government, you know, you're not always the solution. in fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and on our families and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper. an increased tax formula that barack obama is proposing in addition to nearly a trillion dollars in new spending that
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he's proposing is the backwards way of trying to grow our economy. >> governor, are you interested in defending senator mccain's health care plan? >> i am because he's got a good health care plan that is detailed. and i want to give you a couple details on that. he's proposing a $5,000 tax credit for families so that they can get out there and they can purchase their own health care coverage. that's a smart thing to do. that's budget neutral. that doesn't cost the government anything as opposed to barack obama's plan to mandate health care coverage and have this universal government run program and unless you're pleased with the way the federal government has been running anything lately, i don't think that it's going to be real pleasing for americans to consider health care being taken over by the feds. but a $5,000 health care credit through our income tax that's budget neutral. that's going to help. and he also wants to erase those artificial lines between states so that through competition, we can cross state lines and if there's a better plan offered somewhere else, we would be able to purchase that. so affordability and accessibility will be the keys there with that $5,000 tax credit also being offered. >> thank you, governor. senator?
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>> gwen, i don't know where to start. we don't call a redistribution in my neighborhood scranton, claymont, wilmington, the places i grew up, to give the fair to say that not giving exxon mobil another $4 billion tax cut this year as john calls for and giving it to middle class people to be able to pay to get their kids to college, we don't call that redistribution. we call that fairness number one. number two fact, 95% of the small businesses in america, their owners make less than $250,000 a year. they would not get one single solitary penny increase in taxes, those small businesses. >> now, with regard to the -- to the health care plan, you know, it's with one hand you giveth, the other you take it. you know how barack obama -- excuse me, do you know how john mccain pays for his $5,000 tax credit you're going to get, a family will get? he taxes as income every one of you out there, every one of you listening who has a health care plan through your employer. that's how he raises $3.6 trillion, on your -- taxing your health care benefit to give you a $5,000 plan, which his
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web site points out will go straight to the insurance company. and then you're going to have to replace a $12,000 -- that's the average cost of the plan you get through your employer -- it costs $12,000. you're going to have to pay -- replace a $12,000 plan, because 20 million of you are going to be dropped. twenty million of you will be dropped. so you're going to have to place -- replace a $12,000 plan with a $5,000 check you just give to the insurance company. i call that the "ultimate bridge to nowhere." >> thank you, senator. now -- [laughter] i want to get -- try to get you both to answer a question that neither of your principals quite answered when my colleague, jim lehrer, asked it last week, starting with you, senator biden. what promises -- given the events of the week, the bailout plan, all of this, what promises have you and your campaigns made to the american people that you're not going to be able to keep? >> well, the one thing we might have to slow down is a
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commitment we made to double foreign assistance. we'll probably have to slow that down. we also are going to make sure that we do not go forward with the tax cut proposals of the administration -- of john mccain, the existing one for people making over $250,000, which is $130 billion this year alone. we're not going to support the $300 billion tax cut that they have for corporate america and the very wealthy. we're not going to support another $4 billion tax cut for exxonmobil. and what we're not going to also hold up on, gwen, is we cannot afford to hold up on providing for incentives for new jobs by an energy policy, creating new jobs. we cannot slow up on education, because that's the engine that is going to give us the economic growth and competitiveness that we need. and we are not going to slow up on the whole idea of providing for affordable health care for americans, none of which, when we get to talk about health care, is as my -- as the governor characterized --
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characterized. the bottom line here is that we are going to, in fact, eliminate those wasteful spending that exist in the budget right now, a number of things i don't have time, because the light is blinking, that i won't be able to mention, but one of which is the $100 billion tax dodge that, in fact, allows people to take their post office box off- shore, avoid taxes. i call that unpatriotic. i call that unpatriotic. >> governor? >> that's what i'm talking about. >> governor? >> well, the nice thing about running with john mccain is i can assure you he doesn't tell one thing to one group and then turns around and tells something else to another group, including his plans that will make this bailout plan, this rescue plan, even better. i want to go back to the energy plan, though, because this is -- this is an important one that barack obama, he voted for in '05. senator biden, you would remember that, in that energy plan that obama voted for,
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that's what gave those oil companies those big tax breaks. your running mate voted for that. you know what i had to do in the state of alaska? i had to take on those oil companies and tell them, "no," you know, any of the greed there that has been kind of instrumental, i guess, in their mode of operation, that wasn't going to happen in my state. and that's why tillerson at exxon and mulva at conocophillips, bless their hearts, they're doing what they need to do, as corporate ceos, but they're not my biggest fans, because what i had to do up there in alaska was to break up a monopoly up there and say, you know, the people are going to come first and we're going to make sure that we have value given to the people of alaska with those resources. and those huge tax breaks aren't coming to the big multinational corporations anymore, not when it adversely affects the people who live in a state and, in this case, in a country who should be benefiting at the same time. so it was barack obama who voted for that energy plan that gave those tax breaks to the oil companies that i then had to turn around, as a governor of an energy-producing state, and
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kind of undo in my own area of expertise, and that's energy. >> so, governor, as vice president, there's nothing that you have promised as a candidate that you would -- that you wouldn't take off the table because of this financial crisis we're in? >> there is not. and how long have i been at this, like five weeks? so there hasn't been a whole lot that i've promised, except to do what is right for the american people, put government back on the side of the american people, stop the greed and corruption on wall street. and the rescue plan has got to include that massive oversight that americans are expecting and deserving. and i don't believe that john mccain has made any promise that he would not be able to keep, either. >> senator? >> again, let me -- let's talk about those tax breaks. barack obama -- obama voted for an energy bill because, for the first time, it had real support for alternative energy. when there were separate votes on eliminating the tax breaks for the oil companies, barack obama voted to eliminate them. john did not. and let me just ask a rhetorical question: if john really wanted to eliminate them,
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why is he adding to his budget an additional $4 billion in tax cuts for exxonmobil's of the world that, in fact, already have made $600 billion since 2001? and, look, i agree with the governor. she imposed a windfall profits tax up there in alaska. that's what barack obama and i want to do. we want to be able to do for all of you americans, give you back $1,000 bucks, like she's been able to give back money to her folks back there. but john mccain will not support a windfall profits tax. they've made $600 billion since 2001, and john mccain wants to give them, all by itself -- separate, no additional bill, all by itself -- another $4 billion tax cut. if that is not proof of what i say, i'm not sure what can be. so i hope the governor is able to convince john mccain to support our windfall profits tax, which she supported in alaska, and i give her credit for it. >> next question, governor palin, still on the economy. last year, congress passed a bill that would make it more
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difficult for debt-strapped mortgage-holders to declare bankruptcy, to get out from under that debt. this is something that john mccain supported. would you have? >> yes, i would have. but here, again, there have -- there have been so many changes in the conditions of our economy in just even these past weeks that there has been more and more revelation made aware now to americans about the corruption and the greed on wall street. we need to look back, even two years ago, and we need to be appreciative of john mccain's call for reform with fannie mae, with freddie mac, with the mortgage-lenders, too, who were starting to really kind of rear that head of abuse. and the colleagues in the senate weren't going to go there with him. so we have john mccain to thank for at least warning people. and we also have john mccain to thank for bringing in a bipartisan effort people to the
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table so that we can start putting politics aside, even putting a campaign aside, and just do what's right to fix this economic problem that we are in. it is a crisis. it's a toxic mess, really, on main street that's affecting wall street. and now we have to be ever vigilant and also making sure that credit markets don't seize up. that's where the main streeters like me, that's where we would really feel the effects. >> senator biden, you voted for this bankruptcy bill. senator obama voted against it. some people have said that mortgage- holders really paid the price. >> well, mortgage-holders didn't pay the price. only 10% of the people who are -- have been affected by this whole switch from chapter 7 to chapter 13 -- it gets complicated. but the point of this -- barack obama saw the glass as half- empty. i saw it as half-full. we disagreed on that, and 85 senators voted one way, and 15 voted the other way. but here's the deal. barack obama pointed out two years ago that there was a subprime mortgage crisis and
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wrote to the secretary of treasury. and he said, "you'd better get on the stick here. you'd better look at it." john mccain said as early as last december, quote -- i'm paraphrasing -- "i'm surprised about this subprime mortgage crisis," number one. number two, with regard to bankruptcy now, gwen, what we should be doing now -- and barack obama and i support it -- we should be allowing bankruptcy courts to be able to re-adjust not just the interest rate you're paying on your mortgage to be able to stay in your home, but be able to adjust the principal that you owe, the principal that you owe. that would keep people in their homes, actually help banks by keeping it from going under. but john mccain, as i understand it -- i'm not sure of this, but i believe john mccain and the governor don't support that. there are ways to help people now. and there -- ways that we're offering are not being supported by -- by the bush administration nor do i believe by john mccain and governor palin. >> governor palin, is that so? >> that is not so, but because that's just a quick answer, i want to talk about, again, my record on energy versus your ticket's energy ticket, also. i think that this is important
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to come back to, with that energy policy plan again that was voted for in '05. when we talk about energy, we have to consider the need to do all that we can to allow this nation to become energy independent. it's a nonsensical position that we are in when we have domestic supplies of energy all over this great land. and east coast politicians who don't allow energy-producing states like alaska to produce these, to tap into them, and instead we're relying on foreign countries to produce for us. >> we're circulating about $700 billion a year into foreign countries, some who do not like america -- they certainly don't have our best interests at heart -- instead of those dollars circulating here, creating tens of thousands of jobs and allowing domestic supplies of energy to be tapped into and start flowing into these very, very hungry markets. energy independence is the key to this nation's future, to our economic future, and to our national security. so when we talk about energy
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plans, it's not just about who got a tax break and who didn't. and we're not giving oil companies tax breaks, but it's about a heck of a lot more than that. energy independence is the key to america's future. >> governor, i'm happy to talk to you in this next section about energy issues. let's talk about climate change. what is true and what is false about what we have heard, read, discussed, debated about the causes of climate change? >> yes. well, as the nation's only arctic state and being the governor of that state, alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change more so than any other state. and we know that it's real. i'm not one to attribute every man -- activity of man to the changes in the climate. there is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet. but there are real changes going on in our climate.
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and i don't want to argue about the causes. what i want to argue about is, how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts? we have got to clean up this planet. we have got to encourage other nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate change, what we can do about that. as governor, i was the first governor to form a climate change sub-cabinet to start dealing with the impacts. we've got to reduce emissions. john mccain is right there with an "all of the above" approach to deal with climate change impacts. we've got to become energy independent for that reason. also as we rely more and more on other countries that don't care as much about the climate as we do, we're allowing them to produce and to emit and even pollute more than america would ever stand for. so even in dealing with climate change, it's all the more reason that we have an "all of the above" approach, tapping into alternative sources of energy and conserving fuel, conserving our petroleum products and our hydrocarbons so
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that we can clean up this planet and deal with climate change. >> senator, what is true and what is false about the causes? >> well, i think it is manmade. i think it's clearly manmade. and, look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference between john mccain and barack obama and sarah palin and joe biden -- governor palin and joe biden. if you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. we know what the cause is. the cause is manmade. that's the cause. that's why the polar icecap is melting. now, let's look at the facts. we have 3% of the world's oil reserves. we consume 25% of the oil in the world. john mccain has voted 20 times in the last decade-and-a-half against funding alternative energy sources, clean energy sources, wind, solar, biofuels. the way in which we can stop the greenhouse gases from emitting. we believe -- barack obama believes by investing in clean
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coal and safe nuclear, we can not only create jobs in wind and solar here in the united states, we can export it. china is building one to three new coal-fired plants burning dirty coal per week. it's polluting not only the atmosphere but the west coast of the united states. we should export the technology by investing in clean coal technology. we should be creating jobs. john mccain has voted 20 times against funding alternative energy sources and thinks, i guess, the only answer is drill, drill, drill. drill we must, but it will take 10 years for one drop of oil to come out of any of the wells that are going to begun to be drilled. in the meantime, we're all going to be in real trouble. >> let me clear something up, senator mccain has said he supports caps on carbon emissions. senator obama has said he supports clean coal technology, which i don't believe you've always supported. >> i have always supported it. that's a fact. >> well, clear it up for us, both of you, and start with governor palin. >> yes, senator mccain does support this. the chant is "drill, baby, drill." and that's what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped
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into. they know that even in my own energy-producing state we have billions of barrels of oil and hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of clean, green natural gas. and we're building a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline which is north america's largest and most you expensive infrastructure project ever to flow those sources of energy into hungry markets. barack obama and senator biden, you've said no to everything in trying to find a domestic solution to the energy crisis that we're in. you even called drilling -- safe, environmentally-friendly drilling offshore as raping the outer continental shelf. there -- with new technology, with tiny footprints even on land, it is safe to drill and we need to do more of that. but also in that "all of the above" approach that senator mccain supports, the alternative fuels will be tapped into: the nuclear, the clean coal. i was surprised to hear you
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mention that because you had said that there isn't anything -- such a thing as clean coal. and i think you said it in a rope line, too, at one of your rallies. >> we do need to keep within our two minutes. but i just wanted to ask you, do you support capping carbon emissions? >> i do. i do. >> ok. and on the clean coal issue? >> absolutely. absolutely we do. we call for setting hard targets, number one... >> clean coal. >> oh, i'm sorry. >> on clean coal. >> oh, on clean coal. my record, just take a look at the record. my record for 25 years has supported clean coal technology. a comment made in a rope line was taken out of context. i was talking about exporting that technology to china so when they burn their dirty coal, it won't be as dirty, it will be clean. but here's the bottom line, gwen: how do we deal with global warming with continued addition to carbon emissions? and if the only answer you have is oil, and john -- and the governor says john is for everything.
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well, why did john vote 20 times? maybe he's for everything as long as it's not helped forward by the government. maybe he's for everything if the free market takes care of it. i don't know. but he voted 20 times against funding alternative energy sources. >> the next round of -- pardon me, the next round of questions starts with you, senator biden. do you support, as they do in alaska, granting same-sex benefits to couples? >> absolutely. do i support granting same-sex benefits? absolutely positively. look, in an obama-biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple. the fact of the matter is that under the constitution we should be granted -- same-sex couples should be able to have visitation rights in the hospitals, joint ownership of property, life insurance policies, et cetera. that's only fair. it's what the constitution calls for. and so we do support it. we do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights of ownership as heterosexual couples do. >> governor, would you support expanding that beyond alaska to
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the rest of the nation? >> well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. and unfortunately that's sometimes where those steps lead. but i also want to clarify, if there's any kind of suggestion at all from my answer that i would be anything but tolerant of adults in america choosing their partners, choosing relationships that they deem best for themselves, you know, i am tolerant and i have a very diverse family and group of friends and even within that group you would see some who may not agree with me on this issue, some very dear friends who don't agree with me on this issue. but in that tolerance also, no one would ever propose, not in a mccain-palin administration, to do anything to prohibit, say, visitations in a hospital or contracts being signed, negotiated between parties. but i will tell americans straight up that i don't support defining marriage as anything but between one man and
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one woman, and i think through nuances we can go round and round about what that actually means. but i'm being as straight up with americans as i can in my non- support for anything but a traditional definition of marriage. >> let's try to avoid nuance, senator. do you support gay marriage? >> no. barack obama nor i support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. we do not support that. that is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it. the bottom line though is, and i'm glad to hear the governor, i take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. if that's the case, we really don't have a difference. >> is that what your said? >> your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that i do not. >> wonderful. you agree. on that note, let's move to
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foreign policy. [laughter] >> you both have sons who are in iraq or on their way to iraq. you, governor palin, have said that you would like to see a real clear plan for an exit strategy. what should that be, governor? >> i am very thankful that we do have a good plan and the surge and the counterinsurgency strategy in iraq that has proven to work, i am thankful that that is part of the plan implemented under a great american hero, general petraeus, and pushed hard by another great american, senator john mccain. i know that the other ticket opposed this surge, in fact, even opposed funding for our troops in iraq and afghanistan. barack obama voted against funding troops there after promising that he would not do so. >> and senator biden, i respected you when you called him out on that. you said that his vote was political and you said it would cost lives. and barack obama at first said he would not do that. he turned around under
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political pressure and he voted against funding the troops. we do have a plan for withdrawal. we don't need early withdrawal out of iraq. we cannot afford to lose there or we're going to be no better off in the war in afghanistan either. we have got to win in iraq. and with the surge that has worked we're now down to presurge numbers in iraq. that's where we can be. we can start putting more troops in afghanistan as we also work with our nato allies who are there strengthening us and we need to grow our military. we cannot afford to lose against al qaeda and the shia extremists who are still there, still fighting us, but we're getting closer and closer to victory. and it would be a travesty if we quit now in iraq. >> senator? >> gwen, with all due respect, i didn't hear a plan. barack obama has offered a clear plan. shift responsibility to the iraqis over the next 16 months. draw down our combat troops. ironically the same plan that maliki, the prime minister of iraq and george bush are now
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negotiating. the only odd man out here, only one left out is john mccain, number one. number two, with regard to barack obama not -- quote -- "funding the troops," john mccain voted the exact same way. john mccain voted against funding the troops because of an amendment he voted against had a timeline in it to draw down american troops. and john said i'm not going to fund the troops if in fact there's a timeline. barack obama and i agree fully and completely on one thing: you've got to have a time line to draw down the troops and shift responsibility to the iraqis. we're spending $10 billion a month while the iraqis have an $80 billion surplus. barack says it's time for them to spend their own money and have the 400,000 military weâ™ve trained for them begin to take their own responsibility and gradually over six months -- 16 months, withdrawal. john mccain -- this is a fundamental difference between us, we will end this war.
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for john mccain, there's no end in sight to end this war, fundamental difference. we will end this war. >> governor? >> your plan is a white flag of surrender in iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today, that's for sure. and it's not what our nation needs to be able to count on. you guys opposed the surge. the surge worked. barack obama still can't admit the surge works. we'll know when we're finished in iraq when the iraqi government can govern its people and when the iraqi security forces can secure its people. and our commanders on the ground will tell us when those conditions have been met. and maliki and talabani also in working with us are knowing again that we are getting closer and closer to that point, that victory that's within sight.
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now, you said regarding senator mccain's military policies there, senator biden, that you supported a lot of these things. in fact, you said in fact that you wanted to run, you'd be honored to run with him on the ticket, and that's an indication i think of some of the support that you had at least until you became the vp pick here. you also said that barack obama was not ready to be commander in chief. and i know again that you opposed the move that he made to try to cut off funding for the troops and i respect you for that. i don't know how you can defend that position now, but i know that you know especially with your son in the national guard and i have great respect for your family also and the honor that you show our military. barack obama though, another story there. anyone i think who can cut off funding for the troops after promising not to is another story. >> senator biden? >> john mccain voted to cut off funding for the troops. let me say that again: john mccain voted against an amendment containing $1 billion, $600 million that i had gotten to get mraps, those things that are protecting the governor's son and pray god my son and a
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lot of other sons and daughters. he voted against it. he voted against funding because he said the amendment had a time line in it to end this war, and he didn't like that. but let's get straight who has been right and wrong. john mccain and dick cheney said when i was saying we would not be greeted as liberators, we would not this war would take a decade, not a day, not a week, not six months, we would not be out of there quickly. john mccain was saying the sunnis and shias got along with each other without reading the history of the last 700 years. john mccain said there would be enough oil to pay for this. john mccain has been dead wrong. i love him. as my mother would say, god love him, but he's been dead wrong on the fundamental issues relating to the conduct of the war. barack obama has been right. there are the facts. >> let's move to iran and pakistan. i'm curious about what you think starting with you senator biden. which is the greater threat, a nuclear iran or an unstable afghanistan? explain why.
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>> well, they're both extremely dangerous. i always am focused, as you know gwen, i have been focusing on for a long time, along with barack on pakistan. pakistan already has nuclear weapons. pakistan already has deployed nuclear weapons. pakistan's weapons can already hit israel and the mediterranean. iran getting a nuclear weapon would be very, very destabilizing. they are more than they are not close to getting a nuclear weapon that's able to be deployed. so they're both very dangerous. they both would be game changers. but look, here's what the fundamental problem i have with john's policy about terror instability. john continues to tell us that the central war in the front on terror is in iraq. i promise you, if an attack comes in the homeland, it's going to come as our security services have said, it is going to come from al qaeda planning in the hills of afghanistan and pakistan. that's where they live. that's where they are.
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that's where it will come from. and right now that resides in pakistan. a stable government needs to be established. we need to support that democracy by helping them not only with their military but with their governance as well as their economic well-being. there have been 7,000 madrasses built along that border. we should be helping them build schools to compete for those hearts and minds of the people in the region so that we're actually able to take on terrorism. and by the way, that's where bin laden lives and we will go at him if we have actionable intelligence. >> governor, nuclear pakistan, unstable pakistan, nuclear iran? which is the greater threat? >> both are extremely dangerous, of course. and as for who termed that central war on terror being in iraq, it was general petraeus and al qaeda, both leaders there and it's probably the only thing that they're ever going to agree on, but that it was a central war on terror is in iraq. you don't have to believe me or john mccain on that.
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i would believe petraeus and that leader of al qaeda. an armed, nuclear armed especially, iran is so extremely dangerous to consider. they cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons period. israel is in jeopardy of course when we're dealing with ahmadinejad as a leader of iran. iran claiming that israel is, he termed it, a stinking corpse, a country that should be wiped off the face of the earth. now a leader like ahmadinejad who is not sane or stable when he says things like that is not one whom we can allow to acquire nuclear energy, nuclear weapons. ahmadinejad, kim jong il, the castro brothers, others who are dangerous dictators are ones that barack obama has said he would be willing to meet with without preconditions being met first. an issue like that taken up by a presidential candidate goes beyond naivete and goes beyond poor judgment. a statement that he made like that is downright dangerous, because leaders like ahmadinejad who would seek to
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acquire nuclear weapons and wipe off the face of the earth an ally like we have in israel should not be met with without preconditions and diplomatic efforts being undertaken first. >> governor and senator, i want you both to respond to this. secretaries of state baker, kissinger, powell, they have all advocated some level of engagement with enemies. do you think these former secretaries of state are wrong on that? >> no, and dr. henry kissinger especially. i had a good conversation with him recently. and he shared with me also his passion for diplomacy. and that's what john mccain and i would engage in also. but again, with some of these dictators who hate america and hate what we stand for, with our freedoms, our democracy, our tolerance, our respect for
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women's rights, those who would try to destroy what we stand for cannot be met with just sitting down on a presidential level as barack obama had said he would be willing to do. that is beyond bad judgment. that is dangerous. no, diplomacy is very important. first and foremost, that is what we would engage in. but diplomacy is hard work by serious people. it's lining out clear objectives and having your friends and your allies ready to back you up there and have sanctions lined up also before any kind of presidential summit would take place. >> senator? >> can i clarify this? that's just simply not true about barack obama. he did not say sit down with ahmadinejad. >> the fact of the matter is, it surprises me that senator mccain doesn't realize that ahmadinejad does not control the security apparatus in iran. the theocracy controls the security apparatus, number one. number two, five secretaries of state did say we should talk with and sit down. now, john and governor palin now say they're all for -- they have a passion, i think the phrase was, a passion for diplomacy and that we have to bring our
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friends and allies along. our friends and allies have been saying, gwen, "sit down. talk. talk. talk." our friends and allies have been saying that, five secretaries of state, three of them republicans. and john mccain has said he would go along with an agreement, but he wouldn't sit down. now, how do you do that when you don't have your administration sit down and talk with the adversary? and look what president bush did. after five years, he finally sent a high-ranking diplomat to meet with the highest-ranking diplomats in iran, in europe, to try to work out an arrangement. our allies are on that same page. and if we don't go the extra mile on diplomacy, what makes you think the allies are going to sit with us? the last point i'll make, john mccain said as recently as a couple of weeks ago he wouldn't even sit down with the government of spain, a nato ally that has troops in afghanistan with us now. i find that incredible. >> governor, you mentioned israel and your support for
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israel. >> yes. >> what has this administration done right or wrong -- this is the great, lingering, unresolved issue, the israeli-palestinian conflict -- what have they done? and is a two-state solution the solution? >> a two-state solution is the solution. and secretary rice, having recently met with leaders on one side or the other there, also, still in these waning days of the bush administration, trying to forge that peace, and that needs to be done, and that will be top of an agenda item, also, under a mccain-palin administration. israel is our strongest and best ally in the middle east. we have got to assure them that we will never allow a second holocaust, despite, again, warnings from iran and any other country that would seek to destroy israel, that that is what they would like to see. we will support israel. a two-state solution, building our embassy, also, in jerusalem, those things that we look forward to being able to accomplish, with this peace- seeking nation, and they have a track record of being able to forge these peace agreements.
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they succeeded with jordan. they succeeded with egypt. i'm sure that we're going to see more success there, also. it's got to be a commitment of the united states of america, though. and i can promise you, in a mccain-palin administration, that commitment is there to work with our friends in israel. >> senator? >> gwen, no one in the united states senate has been a better friend to israel than joe biden. i would have never, ever joined this ticket were i not absolutely sure barack obama shared my passion. but you asked a question about whether or not this administration's policy had made sense or something to that effect. it has been an abject failure, this administration's policy. in fairness to secretary rice, she's trying to turn it around now in the seventh or eighth year. here's what the president said when we said no. he insisted on elections on the west bank, when i said, and others said, and barack obama said, "big mistake. hamas will win. you'll legitimize them." what happened? hamas won. when we kicked -- along with
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france, we kicked hezbollah out of lebanon, i said and barack said, "move nato forces in there. fill the vacuum, because if you don't know -- if you don't, hezbollah will control it." now what's happened? hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of israel. the fact of the matter is, the policy of this administration has been an abject failure. and speaking of freedom being on the march, the only thing on the march is iran. it's closer to a bomb. its proxies now have a major stake in lebanon, as well as in the gaza strip with hamas. we will change this policy with thoughtful, real, live diplomacy that understands that you must back israel in letting them negotiate, support their negotiation, and stand with them, not insist on policies like this administration has. >> has this administration's policy been an abject failure, as the senator says, governor? >> no, i do not believe that it has been. but i'm so encouraged to know that we both love israel, and i
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think that is a good thing to get to agree on, senator biden. i respect your position on that. no, in fact, when we talk about the bush administration, there's a time, too, when americans are going to say, "enough is enough with your ticket," on constantly looking backwards, and pointing fingers, and doing the blame game. there have been huge blunders in the war. there have been huge blunders throughout this administration, as there are with every administration. but for a ticket that wants to talk about change and looking into the future, there's just too much finger-pointing backwards to ever make us believe that that's where you're going. positive change is coming, though. reform of government is coming. we'll learn from the past mistakes in this administration and other administrations. and we're going to forge ahead with putting government back on the side of the people and making sure that our country comes first, putting obsessive partisanship aside. that's what john mccain has been known for in all these years. he has been the maverick. he has ruffled feathers. but i know, senator biden, you
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have respected him for that, and i respect you for acknowledging that. but change is coming. >> just looking backwards, senator? >> look, past is prologue, gwen. the issue is, how different is john mccain's policy going to be than george bush's? i haven't heard anything yet. i haven't heard how his policy is going to be different on iran than george bush's. i haven't heard how his policy is going to be different with israel than george bush's. i haven't heard how his policy in afghanistan is going to be different than george bush's. i haven't heard how his policy in pakistan is going to be different than george bush's. it may be. but so far, it is the same as george bush's. and you know where that policy has taken us. we will make significant change so, once again, we're the most respected nation in the world.
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that's what we're going to do. >> governor, on another issue, interventionism, nuclear weapons. what should be the trigger, or should there be a trigger, when nuclear weapons use is ever put into play? >> nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be all, end all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet, so those dangerous regimes, again, cannot be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, period. our nuclear weaponry here in the u.s. is used as a deterrent. and that's a safe, stable way to use nuclear weaponry. but for those countries -- north korea, also, under kim jong-il -- we have got to make sure that we're putting the economic sanctions on these countries and that we have friends and allies supporting us in this to make sure that leaders like kim jong-il and ahmadinejad are not allowed to acquire, to proliferate, or to use those nuclear weapons. it is that important. can we talk about afghanistan real quick, also, though? >> certainly. >> ok, i'd like to just really quickly mention there, too, that when you look back and you say
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that the bush administration's policy on afghanistan perhaps would be the same as mccain, and that's not accurate. the surge principles, not the exact strategy, but the surge principles that have worked in iraq need to be implemented in afghanistan, also. and that, perhaps, would be a difference with the bush administration. now, barack obama had said that all we're doing in afghanistan is air-raiding villages and killing civilians. and such a reckless, reckless comment and untrue comment, again, hurts our cause. that's not what we're doing there. we're fighting terrorists, and we're securing democracy, and we're building schools for children there so that there is opportunity in that country, also. there will be a big difference there, and we will win in -- in afghanistan, also. >> senator, you may talk about nuclear use, if you'd like, and also about afghanistan. >> i'll talk about both. with afghanistan, facts matter, gwen. the fact is that our commanding general in afghanistan said today that a surge -- the surge principles used in iraq will not -- well, let me say this again now -- our commanding general in afghanistan said the surge principle in iraq will not work
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in afghanistan, not joe biden, our commanding general in afghanistan. he said we need more troops. we need government-building. we need to spend more money on the infrastructure in afghanistan. look, we have spent more money -- we spend more money in three weeks on combat in iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in afghanistan building that country. let me say that again. three weeks in iraq; seven years, seven years or six-and-a- half years in afghanistan. now, that's number one. number two, with regard to arms control and weapons, nuclear weapons require a nuclear arms control regime. john mccain voted against a comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty that every republican has supported. john mccain has opposed amending the nuclear-test-ban treaty with an amendment to allow for
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inspections. john mccain has not been -- has not been the kind of supporter for dealing with -- and let me put it another way. my time is almost up. barack obama, first thing he did when he came to the united states senate, new senator, reached across the aisle to my colleague, dick lugar, a republican, and said, "we've got to do something about keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists." they put together a piece of legislation that, in fact, was serious and real. every major -- i shouldn't say every -- on the two at least that i named, i know that john mccain has been opposed to extending the arms control regime in the world. >> governor? >> well, first, mcclellan did not say definitively the surge principles would not work in afghanistan. certainly, accounting for different conditions in that different country and conditions are certainly different. we have nato allies helping us for one and even the geographic differences are huge but the counterinsurgency principles
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could work in afghanistan. mcclellan didn't say anything opposite of that. the counterinsurgency strategy going into afghanistan, clearing, holding, rebuilding, the civil society and the infrastructure can work in afghanistan. and those leaders who are over there, who have also been advising george bush on this have not said anything different but that. >> senator. >> well, our commanding general did say that. the fact of the matter is that again, i'll just put in perspective, while barack and i and chuck hagel and dick lugar have been calling for more money to help in afghanistan, more troops in afghanistan, john mccain was saying two years ago quote, "the reason we don't read about afghanistan anymore in the paper, it's succeeded. barack obama was saying we need more troops there. again, we spend in three weeks on combat missions in iraq, more than we spent in the entire time we have been in afghanistan. that will change in a barack obama administration.
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>> senator, you have quite a record, this is the next question here, of being an interventionist. you argued for intervention in bosnia and kosovo, initially in iraq and pakistan and now in darfur, putting u.s. troops on the ground. boots on the ground. is this something the american public has the stomach for? >> i think the american public has the stomach for success. my recommendations on bosnia. i admit i was the first one to recommend it. they saved tens of thousands of lives. and initially john mccain opposed it along with a lot of other people. but the end result was it worked. look what we did in bosnia. we took serbs, croats and bosniaks, being told by everyone, i was told by everyone that this would mean that they had been fighting and killing each other for a thousand years, it would never work. there's a relatively stable government there now as there is in kosovo. with regard to iraq, i indicated that it would be a mistake to -- i gave the president the power.
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i voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the united states, the un in line, to keep sanctions on iraq and not let them be lifted. i, along with dick lugar, before we went to war, said if we were to go to war without our allies, without the kind of support we need, we'd be there for a decade and it'd cost us tens of billions of dollars. john mccain said, no, it was going to be ok. i don't have the stomach for genocide when it comes to darfur. we can now impose a no-fly zone. it's within our capacity. we can lead nato if we're willing to take a hard stand. camps, i've been in those in chad. i've seen the suffering, thousands and tens of thousands have died and are dying. we should rally the world to act and we should demonstrate it by our own movement to provide the helicopters to get the 21,000 forces of the african union in
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there now to stop this genocide. >> thank you, senator. governor. >> oh, yeah, it's so obvious i'm a washington outsider. and someone just not used to the way you guys operate. because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war. you're one who says, as so many politicians do, i was for it before i was against it or vice- versa. americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for it, tell us why you voted for it and it was a war resolution. and you had supported john mccain's military strategies pretty adamantly until this race and you had opposed very adamantly barack obama's military strategy, including cutting off funding for the troops that attempt all through the primary. and i watched those debates, so i remember what those were all about. but as for as darfur, we can agree on that also, the supported of the no-fly zone, making sure that all options are on the table there also. america is in a position to help. what i've done in my position to help, as the governor of a state that's pretty rich in natural resources, we have a $40 billion investment fund, a
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savings fund called the alaska permanent fund. when i and others in the legislature found out we had some millions of dollars in sudan, we called for divestment through legislation of those dollars to make sure we weren't doing anything that would be seen as condoning the activities there in darfur. that legislation hasn't passed yet but it needs to because all of us, as individuals, and as humanitarians and as elected officials should do all we can to end those atrocities in that region of the world. >> is there a line that should be drawn about when we decide to go in? >> absolutely. there is a line that should be drawn. >> what is it? >> the line that should be drawn is whether we a, first of all have the capacity to do anything about it number one. and number two, there are certain new lines that have to be drawn internationally. when a country engages in genocide, when a country engaging in harboring terrorists and will do nothing about it, at that point that country in my view and barack's view forfeits
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their right to say you have no right to intervene at all. the truth of the matter is, though, let's go back to john mccain's strategy. i never supported john mccain's strategy on the war. john mccain said exactly what dick cheney said, go back and look at barack obama's statements and mine. go look at joebiden.com, contemporaneously, held hearings in the summer before we went to war, saying if we went to war, we would not be greeted as liberator, we would have a fight between sunnis and shias, we would be tied down for a decade and cost us hundreds of billions of dollars. john mccain was saying the exact opposite. john mccain was lock- step with dick cheney at that point how this was going to be easy. so john mccain's strategy in this war, not just whether or not to go, the actual conduct of the war has been absolutely wrong from the outset. >> governor. >> i beg to disagree with you, again, here on whether you
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supported barack obama or john mccain's strategies. here again, you can say what you want to say a month out before people are asked to vote on this, but we listened to the debates. i think tomorrow morning, the pundits are going to start do the who said what at what time and we'll have proof of some of this, but, again, john mccain who knows how to win a war. who's been there and he's faced challenges and he knows what evil is and knows what it takes to overcome the challenges here with our military. he knows to learn from the mistakes and blunders we have seen in the war in iraq, especially. he will know how to implement the strategies, working with our commanders and listening to what they have to say, taking the politics out of these war issues. he'll know how to win a war. >> thank you, governor.
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probably the biggest cliche about the vice-presidency is that it's a heartbeat away, everybody's waiting to see what would happen if the worst happened. how would -- you disagree on some things from your principles, you disagree on drilling in alaska, the national wildlife refuge, you disagree on the surveillance law, at least you have in the past. how would a biden administration be different from an obama administration if that were to happen. >> god forbid that would ever happen, it would be a national tragedy of historic proportions if it were to happen. but if it did, i would carry out barack obama's policies, his policies of reinstating the middle class, making sure they get a fair break, making sure they have access to affordable health insurance, making sure they get serious tax breaks, making sure we can help their children get to college, making sure there is an energy policy that leads us in the direction of not only toward independence and clean environment but an energy policy that creates 5 million new jobs, a foreign policy that ends this war in iraq, a foreign policy that goes after the one mission the american public gave the president after 9/11, to get and capture or kill bin laden and to eliminate al qaeda.
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a policy that would in fact engage our allies in making sure that we knew we were acting on the same page and not dictating. and a policy that would reject the bush doctrine of preemption and regime change and replace it with a doctrine of prevention and cooperation and, ladies and gentlemen, this is the biggest ticket item that we have in this election. this is the most important election you will ever, ever have voted in, any of you, since 1932. and there's such stark differences, i would follow through on barack's policies because in essence, i agree with every major initiative he is suggesting. >> governor. >> and heaven forbid, yes, that would ever happen, no matter how this ends up, that that would ever happen with either party. as for disagreeing with john mccain and how our administration would work, what do you expect? a team of mavericks, of course we're not going to agree on 100% of everything. as we discuss anwr there, at least we can agree to disagree on that one.
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i will keep pushing him on anwr. i have so appreciated he has never asked me to check my opinions at the door and he wants a deliberative debate and healthy debate so we can make good policy. what i would do also, if that were to ever happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on wall street and in washington. i think we need a little bit of reality from wasilla main street there, brought to washington, dc. >> so that people there can understand how the average working class family is viewing bureaucracy in the federal government and congress, and the inaction of congress. just everyday, working-class americans saying, you know, government, just get out of my way. if you're going to do any harm and mandate more things on me and take more of my money and income tax and business taxes, you're going to have a choice in just a few weeks here on either
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supporting a ticket that wants to create jobs and bolster our economy and win the war or you're going to be supporting a ticket that wants to increase taxes, which ultimately kills jobs, and is going to hurt our economy. >> can i respond? look, all you've got to do is go down union street with me in wilmington or go to katie's restaurant or walk into home depot with me where i spend a lot of time and you ask anybody in there whether or not the economic and foreign policy of this administration has made them better off in the last eight years. and then ask them whether there's a single major initiative that john mccain differs with the president on. on taxes, on iraq, on afghanistan, on the whole question of how to help education, on the dealing with health care. look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. they get it. they know they've been getting the short end of the stick. so walk with me in my neighborhood, go back to my old neighborhood in claymont, an old steel town or go up to scranton with me. these people know the middle
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class has gotten the short end. the wealthy have done very well. corporate america has been rewarded. it's time we change it. barack obama will change it. >> governor? >> say it ain't so, joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. you prefaced your whole comment with the bush administration. now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. you mentioned education and i'm glad that you did. i know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. her reward is in heaven, right? i say, too, with education, america needs to be putting a lot more focus on that and our schools have got to be really ramped up in terms of the funding that they are deserving. teachers needed to be paid more. i come from a house full of school teachers. my grandma was, my dad who is in the audience today, he's a schoolteacher, had been for many years. my brother, who i think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at gladys wood elementary school, you get extra credit for watching this debate. education in america has been
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in some sense in some of our states just accepted to be a little bit lax, and we have got to increase the standards. no child left behind was implemented. it's not doing the job though. we need flexibility in no child left behind. we need to put more of an emphasis on the profession of teaching. we need to make sure that education in either one of our agendas, i think, absolute top of the line. my kids as public school participants right now, it's near and dear to my heart. i'm very, very concerned about where we're going with education and we have got to ramp it up and put more attention in that arena. >> everybody gets extra credit tonight. we're going to move on to the next question. governor, you said in july that someone would have to explain to you exactly what it is the vice president does every day. you, senator, said, you would not be vice president under any circumstances. now maybe this was just what was
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going on at the time. but tell us now, looking forward, what it is you think the vice presidency is worth now. >> in my comment there, it was a lame attempt at a joke and yours was a lame attempt at a joke, too, i guess, because nobody got it. of course we know what a vice president does. >> they didn't get yours or mine? which one didn't they get? >> no, no. of course, we know what a vice president does. and that's not only to preside over the senate and will take that position very seriously also. i'm thankful that the constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the vice president also if that vice president so chose to exert it in working with the senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president's policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are. john mccain and i have had good conversations about where i would lead with his agenda, and that is energy independence in america and reform of government over all, and then working with families of children with special needs. that's near and dear to my heart also. and in those arenas, john mccain has already tapped me and said,
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that's where i want you, i want you to lead. and i said, i can't wait to get there and go to work with you. >> senator? >> gwen, i hope we'll get back to education because i don't know any government program that john is supporting, not early education, more money for it. the reason no child left behind was left behind was the money was left behind, we didn't fund it. but we can get back to that i assume. with regard to the role of vice president, i had a long talk, as i'm sure the governor did with her principal, in my case with barack. and let me tell you what barack asked me to do. i have a history of getting things done in the united states senate. john mccain would acknowledge that. my record shows that on controversial issues. i would be the point person for the legislative initiatives in the united states congress for our administration. i would also, when asked if i wanted a portfolio, my response was, no. but barack obama indicated to me he wanted me with him to help him govern. so every major decision he'll be
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making, i'll be sitting in the room to give him my best advice. he's president, not me, i'll give my best advice. and one of the things he said early on when he was choosing, he said he picked someone who had an independent judgment and wouldn't be afraid to tell him if he disagreed. that is sort of my reputation, as you know. so i look forward to working with barack and playing a very constructive role in his presidency, bringing about the kind of change this country needs. >> governor, you mentioned a moment ago that the constitution might give the vice president more power than it has in the past. do you believe as vice president cheney does, that the executive branch does not hold complete sway over the office of the vice presidency, that it it is also a member of the legislative branch? >> well, our founding fathers were very wise there in allowing through the constitution much flexibility there in the office of the vice president. and we will do what is best for the american people in tapping into that position and ushering in an agenda that is supportive and cooperative with the president's agenda in that position.
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yeah, so i do agree with him that we have a lot of flexibility in there, and we'll do what we have to do to administer very appropriately the plans that are needed for this nation. and it is my executive experience that is partly to be attributed to my pick as v.p. with mccain, not only as a governor, but earlier on as a mayor, as an oil and gas regulator, as a business owner. it is those years of experience on an executive level that will be put to good use in the white house also. >> vice president cheney's interpretation of the vice presidency? >> vice president cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we've had probably in american history. the idea he doesn't realize that article i of the constitution defines the role of the vice president of the united states, that's the executive branch. he works in the executive branch. he should understand that. everyone should understand that. and the primary role of the vice president of the united states of america is to support the president of the united states
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of america, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. the constitution is explicit. the only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. he has no authority relative to the congress. the idea he's part of the legislative branch is a bizarre notion invented by cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. it has been very dangerous. >> let's talk conventional wisdom for a moment. the conventional wisdom, governor palin, with you, is that your achilles heel is that you lack experience. your conventional wisdom against you is that your achilles heel is that you lack discipline, senator biden. what is it really for you, governor palin? what is it really for you, senator biden? start with you, governor. >> my experience as an executive will be put to good use as a mayor and business owner and oil and gas regulator and then
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as governor of a huge state, a huge energy-producing state that is accounting for much progress towards getting our nation energy independence and that's extremely important. but it wasn't just that experience tapped into, it was my connection to the heartland of america. being a mom, being one who is very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills? about times and todd and our marriage in our past where we didn't have health insurance and we know what other americans are going through as they sit around the kitchen table and try to figure out, how are they going to pay out-of-pocket for health care? we've been there also so that connection was important. but even more important is that worldview that i share with john mccain. that worldview that says that america is a nation of exceptionalism. and we are to be that shining city on a hill, as president
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reagan so beautifully said, that we are a beacon of hope and that we are unapologetic here. we are not perfect as a nation. but together, we represent a perfect ideal, and that is democracy and tolerance and freedom and equal rights. those things that we stand for that can be put to good use as a force for good in this world. john mccain and i share that, and you combine all that with being a team with the only track record of making a really, a difference in where we've been and reforming, and that's a good team, it's a good ticket. >> senator? >> you're very kind suggesting my only achilles heel is my lack of discipline. >> others talk about my excessive passion. i'm not going to change. i have 35 years in public office. people can judge who i am. i haven't changed in that time. and, by the way, a record of change -- i will place my record and barack's record against john mccain's or anyone else in terms of fundamental accomplishments. wrote the crime bill, put 100,000 cops on the street, wrote the violence against women act, which john mccain voted against both of them, was the catalyst to change the
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circumstance in bosnia, led by president clinton, obviously. look, i understand what it's like to be a single parent. when my wife and daughter died and my two sons were gravely injured, i understand what it's like as a parent to wonder what it's like if your kid's going to make it. i understand what it's like to sit around the kitchen table with a father who says, "i've got to leave, champ, because there's no jobs here. i got to head down to wilmington. and when we get enough money, honey, we'll bring you down." i understand what it's like. i'm much better off than almost all americans now. i get a good salary with the united states senate. i live in a beautiful house that's my total investment that i have. so i -- i am much better off now. but the notion that somehow, because i'm a man, i don't know what it's like to raise two kids alone, i don't know what it's like to have a child you're not sure is going to -- is going to make it -- i understand. i understand, as well as, with all due respect, the governor or anybody else, what it's like for those people sitting around that kitchen table. and guess what? they're looking for help. they're looking for help.
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they're not looking for more of the same. >> governor? >> people aren't looking for more of the same. they are looking for change. and john mccain has been the consummate maverick in the senate over all these years. he's taken shots left and right from the other party and from within his own party, because he's had to take on his own party when the time was right, when he recognized it was time to put partisanship aside and just do what was right for the american people. that's what i've done as governor, also, take on my own party, when i had to, and work with both sides of the aisle, in my cabinet, appointing those who would serve regardless of party, democrats, independents, republicans, whatever it took to get the job done. also, john mccain's maverick position that he's in, that's really prompt up to and indicated by the supporters that he has. look at lieberman, and giuliani, and romney, and lingle, and all of us who come from such a diverse background of -- of
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policy and of partisanship, all coming together at this time, recognizing he is the man that we need to leave -- lead in these next four years, because these are tumultuous times. we have got to win the wars. we have got to get our economy back on track. we have got to not allow the greed and corruption on wall street anymore. and we have not got to allow the partisanship that has really been entrenched in washington, d.c., no matter who's been in charge. when the republicans were in charge, i didn't see a lot of progress there, either. when the democrats, either, though, this last go- around for the last two years. change is coming. and john mccain is the leader of that reform. >> senator... >> i'll be very brief. can i respond to that? look, the maverick -- let's talk about the maverick john mccain is. and, again, i love him. he's been a maverick on some issues, but he has been no maverick on the things that matter to people's lives. he voted four out of five times for george bush's budget, which
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put us a half a trillion dollars in debt this year and over $3 trillion in debt since he's got there. he has not been a maverick in providing health care for people. he has voted against -- he voted including another 3.6 million children in coverage of the existing health care plan, when he voted in the united states senate. he's not been a maverick when it comes to education. he has not supported tax cuts and significant changes for people being able to send their kids to college. he's not been a maverick on the war. he's not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around their kitchen table. can we send -- can we get mom's mri? can we send mary back to school next semester? we can't -- we can't make it. how are we going to heat the -- heat the house this winter? he voted against even providing for what they call liheap, for assistance to people, with oil prices going through the roof in the winter. so maverick he is not on the important, critical issues that affect people at that kitchen table. >> final question tonight, before your closing statements, starting with you, senator biden. can you think of a single issue -- and this is to cast light for people who are just trying to get to know you in your final debate, your only debate of this year -- can you think of a single issue, policy issue, in
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which you were forced to change a long-held view in order to accommodate changed circumstances? >> yes, i can. when i got to the united states senate and went on the judiciary committee as a young lawyer, i was of the view and had been trained in the view that the only thing that mattered was whether or not a nominee appointed, suggested by the president had a judicial temperament, had not committed a crime of moral turpitude, and was -- had been a good student. and it didn't take me long -- it was hard to change, but it didn't take me long, but it took about five years for me to realize that the ideology of that judge makes a big difference. that's why i led the fight against judge bork. had he been on the court, i suspect there would be a lot of changes that i don't like and the american people wouldn't like, including everything from roe v. wade to issues relating to civil rights and civil liberties. and so that -- that -- that was
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one of the intellectual changes that took place in my career as i got a close look at it. and that's why i was the first chairman of the judiciary committee to forthrightly state that it matters what your judicial philosophy is. the american people have a right to understand it and to know it. but i did change on that, and -- and i'm glad i did. >> governor? >> there have been times where, as mayor and governor, we have passed budgets that i did not veto and that i think could be considered as something that i quasi-caved in, if you will, but knowing that it was the right thing to do in order to progress the agenda for that year and to work with the legislative body, that body that actually holds the purse strings. so there were times when i wanted to zero-base budget, and to cut taxes even more, and i didn't have enough support in order to accomplish that. but on the major principle things, no, there hasn't been something that i've had to compromise on, because we've always seemed to find a way to work together.
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up there in alaska, what we have done is, with bipartisan efforts, is work together and, again, not caring who gets the credit for what, as we accomplish things up there. and that's been just a part of the operation that i wanted to participate in. and that's what we're going to do in washington, d.c., also, bring in both sides together. john mccain is known for doing that, also, in order to get the work done for the american people. >> let's come full circle. you both want to bring both sides together. you both talk about bipartisanship. once again, we saw what happened this week in washington. how do you change the tone, as vice president, as number-two? >> well, again, i believe john mccain, were he here -- and this is a dangerous thing to say in the middle of an election -- but he would acknowledge what i'm about to say. i have been able to work across the aisle on some of the most controversial issues and change my party's mind, as well as republicans', because i learned a lesson from mike mansfield. mike mansfield, a former leader of the senate, said to me one day -- he -- i made a criticism of jesse helms. he said, "what would you do if i told you jesse helms and dot helms had adopted a child who had braces and was in real need? " i said, "i'd feel like a jerk."
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he said, "joe, understand one thing. everyone's sent here for a reason, because there's something in them that their folks like. don't question their motive." i have never since that moment in my first year questioned the motive of another member of the congress or senate with whom i've disagreed. i've questioned their judgment. i think that's why i have the respect i have and have been able to work as well as i've been able to have worked in the united states senate. that's the fundamental change barack obama and i will be bring to this party, not questioning other people's motives. >> governor? >> you do what i did as governor, and you appoint people regardless of party affiliation, democrats, independents, republicans. you -- you walk the walk; you don't just talk the talk. and even in my own family, it's a very diverse family. and we have folks of all political persuasion in there, also, so i've grown up just knowing that, you know, at the end of the day, as long as we're all working together for
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the greater good, it's going to be ok. but the policies and the proposals have got to speak for themselves, also. and, again, voters on november 4th are going to have that choice to either support a ticket that supports policies that create jobs. you do that by lowering taxes on american workers and on our businesses. and you build up infrastructure, and you rein in government spending, and you make our -- our nation energy independent. or you support a ticket that supports policies that will kill jobs by increasing taxes. and that's what the track record shows, is a desire to increase taxes, increase spending, a trillion-dollar spending proposal that's on the table. that's going to hurt our country, and saying no to energy independence. clear choices on november 4th. >> governor palin, you get the chance to make the first closing statement. >> well, again, gwen, i do want to thank you and the commission. this is such an honor for me. and i appreciate, too, senator biden, getting to meet you, finally, also, and getting to
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debate with you. and i would like more opportunity for this. i like being able to answer these tough questions without the filter, even, of the mainstream media kind of telling viewers what they've just heard. i'd rather be able to just speak to the american people like we just did. and it's so important that the american people know of the choices that they have on november 4th. i want to assure you that john mccain and i, we're going to fight for america. we're going to fight for the middle-class, average, everyday american family like mine. i've been there. i know what the hurts are. i know what the challenges are. and, thank god, i know what the joys are, too, of living in america. we are so blessed. and i've always been proud to be an american. and so has john mccain. we have to fight for our freedoms, also, economic and our national security freedoms.
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it was ronald reagan who said that freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. we don't pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we're going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children's children about a time in america, back in the day, when men and women were free. we will fight for it, and there is only one man in this race who has really ever fought for you, and that's senator john mccain. >> thank you, governor. senator biden. >> gwen, thank you for doing this, and the commission, and governor, it really was a pleasure getting to meet you. look, folks, this is the most important election you've ever voted in your entire life. no one can deny that the last eight years, we've been dug into a very deep hole here at home with regard to our economy, and abroad in terms of our credibility. and there's a need for fundamental change in our economic philosophy, as well as our foreign policy. and barack obama and i don't measure progress toward that change based on whether or not we cut more regulations and how well ceos are doing, or giving another $4 billion in tax
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breaks to the exxon mobils of the world. we measure progress in america based on whether or not someone can pay their mortgage, whether or not they can send their kid to college, whether or not they're able to, when they send their child, like we have abroad -- or i'm about to, abroad -- and john has as well, i might add -- to fight, that they are the best equipped and they have everything they need. and when they come home, they're guaranteed that they have the best health care and the best education possible. you know, in the neighborhood i grew up in, it was all about dignity and respect. a neighborhood like most of you grew up in. and in that neighborhood, it was filled with women and men, mothers and fathers who taught their children if they believed in themselves, if they were honest, if they worked hard, if they loved their country, they could accomplish anything. we believed it, and we did. that's why barack obama and i are running, to re-establish that certitude in our neighborhoods. ladies and gentlemen, my dad used to have an expression. he'd say, "champ, when you get knocked down, get up."
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well, it's time for america to get up together. america's ready, you're ready, i'm ready, and barack obama is ready to be the next president of the united states of america. may god bless all of you, and most of all, for both of us, selfishly, may god protect our troops. >> that ends tonight's debate. we want to thank the folks here at washington university in st. louis, and the commission on presidential debates. there are two more debates to come. next tuesday, october 7th, with tom brokaw at belmont university in nashville, and on october 15th at hofstra university in new york, with bob schieffer. thank you, governor palin and senator biden. good night, everybody. [applause] >> thank you. >> thank you. thank you, gwen. appreciate that. [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> my wife, jill. >> so nice to meet you. [applause]
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>> on the day, fourth, it, or six day after being in office we were sitting in the oval office, and larry summers, the chief executive officer came in and said mr. president, looking at this year's budget, you are going to have a trillion dollar deficit. he said i have not done anything
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yet. >> we did not keep looking our children and i, no way we are going to give them a diminished future because we are spending their money today. it is a very simple idea. there from the and i will predict to washington. we have to stop spending money we did not have the. we must cut spending, get the balanced budget. we left it the debt under control. to cut next thursday, paul ryan and joe biden will face off in their only debate. from center college in danville, ky. you could watch and a gauge with a live debate preview at 7:00 eastern followed by the debate at 9:00. your reaction at 10:30. although reaction on c-span and online c-span.org. 0-- follow reaction. >> this government has
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maintained the closest surveillance of the soviet military buildup on island of cuba. within the past week, unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensives is now in preparation from the imprisoned island. the purpose of these can be no other bid to provide a nuclear strike capability against the western hemisphere. >> do you deny the u.s.s. r has placed and is placing medium and intermediate range missiles to cuba? yes or no? yes or no?